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Solid Waste

Reference Number: MTAS-253
Reviewed Date: 07/06/2021

Solid Waste Management Act of 1991
The Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 outlines a comprehensive process for dealing with Tennessee’s municipal solid waste on a regional basis. Cities that collect and dispose of solid waste have a right to appoint representatives to the region’s (single or multi-county) board. Through regional plans, regional boards have the authority to approve applications for new or expanded landfills or incinerators in their territory and to restrict waste coming in from outside the region. T.C.A. §§ 68-211-813–814, T.C.A. § 68-211-817.

The act authorizes the region to impose and collect a solid waste disposal fee. Funds from these fees are to be used to establish and maintain solid waste collection and disposal services, including convenience centers and collection centers for whole waste tires, lead-acid batteries, and used oil. Cities and counties must use a uniform solid waste financial accounting system developed by the state comptroller. T.C.A. § 68-211-835, T.C.A. § 68-211-866, T.C.A. § 68-211-874.

Solid waste needs assessments, first required by 1992, must be revised every five years.

All landfills accepting municipal solid waste must pay a surcharge of 90 cents per ton to the state. The surcharge applies only to Class I solid waste disposal facilities and incinerators. T.C.A. § 68-211-835.

T.C.A. § 68-211-104 makes it unlawful to deposit solid waste into the waters of the state and to burn solid waste except in accordance with state regulations. It also is unlawful to construct or alter a solid waste processing or disposal facility or to transport, process, or dispose of solid waste in violation of rules and regulations established by the commissioner of environment and conservation or the board of water quality, oil and gas created by T.C.A. § 69-3-104. The state also exercises general supervision and regulation over all solid waste disposal facilities in the state, including the authority to review and approve federal grants or loans to cities for constructing or modifying such facilities. T.C.A. §§ 68-211-105–109.

Funds in the solid waste management fund may be used for grants to municipalities with a Class I landfill without a liner and for using shredded tires for recreational purposes. T.C.A. §§ 68-211-832, 867.

Closed Trucks
Refuse, garbage, etc., must be hauled in a closed-body truck or covered securely with a tarpaulin. In addition, all trucks hauling litter to an energy recovery facility and having a gross weight of less than 16,000 pounds must carry the litter in an enclosed space unless the truck has a hydraulic lift system. T.C.A. §§ 39-14-507.