White County closing its landfill for study has caused an “emergency in the sanitation department” of Sparta.
City Administrator Brad Hennessee said now that the county is diverting trash, city employees drive 160 miles a day to dump in McMinnville. Sparta has regularly used White County’s landfill to dump in the past.
“It’s certainly more expensive than the way that we were doing it before just because the man power involved,” Hennessee said. “It takes more people and the operational cost of having to run a truck 80 miles twice a day.”
Hennessee said man power to make runs and the city’s available equipment are the two biggest issues. Hennessee said staffing has been an ongoing challenge. At the same time, the city has no alternative if a mechanical issue were to arise.
“The equipment that we have at this time is all operational, but we don’t have enough of it,” Hennessee said. “If we do have any malfunctions, we’re going to be in trouble. We don’t have any alternatives at this point if something were to happen to the trucks, trailer or the compactor at the transfer station.”
Hennessee said the city’s transfer station is currently being used to compact trash and loaded onto a trailer for transport. Before, garbage would be picked up and dumped at the landfill by the same truck on a single run.
“Right now the plan is to gather all the information we can,” Hennessee said. “We have a lot of unknowns in this, and there’s just going to have to be some time passed and information gained that we can make long-term decisions from.”
Hennessee said the city would like to continue its partnership with the county, but the future of the landfill is unknown.