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Residents Sound Off at Camden Landfill Meeting

By Jonquil Newland
By jnewland@wbbjtv.com

Camden residents packed inside the Benton County Courthouse Tuesday night. Many held signs voicing their opposition after an application to expand the Environmental Waste Solutions landfill from five acres to 42 acres was approved.

However, residents said the recent odor problem should indicate the landfill has not been following protocol. "When some of y'all from the state were out there today, you could smell the ammonia today," said Senator Roy Herron, D-Dresden. "There ought never be another citizen in the county that smells that landfill again."

"We tried to address those odor complaints by asking the landfill to take additional actions to make sure the waste is covered properly," said senior director for the Land Program at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Chuck Head.

However, the odor is not the only problem. According to area residents and officials, along with a number of current violations, they believe The Jackson Law was broken in 1998 when consent from the city and county was given to open the landfill without proper notice or a public hearing.

"If y'all do not find the proof that, in fact, there was a public notice before the initial permit was granted, I am asking you to revoke it," said Herron.

State officials will continue to take public comments until August 15 before deciding whether to approve the site's application for an expansion.