February 2, 2007
Re: Application of Jackson Law to private landfill
Dear City Attorney:
You have asked for an opinion on whether the so-called Jackson Law (Tennessee Code Annotated, § 68-211-701, et seq.) applies to a landfill developed by private companies and used for the disposal only of solid waste generated by the companies and not for county or municipal waste or household garbage. In my opinion, the Jackson Law does not apply to such a landfill.
The Jackson Law requires local approval by the county and the municipality, if any, in which a landfill is to be located that will accept municipal and county solid waste and household garbage. This law also establishes procedures for the granting of this approval. This law is a local option law for the county or municipality in question, and I will assume for purposes of this opinion that it has been locally approved by the applicable jurisdictions. The operative provision of this law that provides an exception from these requirements for private landfills is T.C.A. § 68-211-706(a):
The provisions of this part shall not apply to any private landfill which accepts solid waste solely generated by its owner and does not accept county or municipal solid waste or ordinary household garbage.
The landfill in question is proposed as a joint venture between Company A and Company B. It will accept only solid waste generated by these companies. It will not receive solid waste from any other source, including the county or municipality or households.
I also note that the zoning ordinance of your City must be amended to allow the landfill to be located in what is now a rural residential district by changing the area to heavy manufacturing. The proposed amendment allowing the landfill in the heavy manufacturing district and including it as a permitted principal use is:
“Company C” Landfill Operations which accepts (sic) solid waste generated by its owners and does not accept county or municipal solid waste or ordinary household garbage, subject to approval of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Solid Waste Management.
This language also comports with that in the Jackson Law that provides for the exemption from the particular local approval scheme in the Jackson Law for private landfills. If the landfill receives the necessary approvals and is constructed, therefore, it will have to conform to the language in the zoning ordinance that requires that it accept only the solid waste generated by the owners and no other solid waste.
I hope this is helpful. If you have other questions, please call.