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Chattanooga to send its trash to Bradley County

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Chattanooga is about to save a lot of money by sending its garbage to Bradley County, but not everyone is thrilled about the trash transfer.

City officials said the transition could start in a few weeks. 

The idea is to cut down on costs for the city and taxpayers, but some residents in Bradley County just wish it would go somewhere else.

Chattanooga area households dump more than 65,000 tons of trash at the landfill, but the city is about to send around 90% of that garbage up I-75 to the Bradley County landfill.

"It looks like a mountain out there right now," Mike Lively, a Bradley County resident said.

Mike Lively lives a few miles away from the dumping ground. He's used to smelling the landfill from time to time, but he's worried the odor will become even stronger.

Right now, the city of Chattanooga has a contract with Santek Waste Services.

They bring all of their trash to a transfer station and then to the Chattanooga landfill. That won't be the case anymore.

Instead, it will head to the Bradley County landfill after the transfer station.

"By moving garbage to another land fill, not only saving money for the residents, but also reducing the costs of operations," Justin Holland, a public works administrator.

City officials said it costs $31.50 per ton. Moving most of the trash to Bradley County through Santek will be about half the price and helps Chattanooga delay a $7 million expansion of its landfill.

"We're looking at the best value for our residents. We're looking to get the most out of the market we feel like we're doing a really good job at that with this move," Holland said.

Some in the community question if the idea will mean more trucks on the road in Bradley County.

Santek representatives said people shouldn't see much of a difference.

"The waste is going to be coming in transfer trailers, so it's not going to be a huge amount of new vehicles on the road," Cheryl Dunson of Santek Waste Services said.

Lively just wishes another town had to smell Chattanooga's trash besides him.  

"I think they ought to find another place to put it. We've got enough trash as it is," Lively said.

Chattanooga's public works administrator said they will be slimming down the staff at the landfill.

They have 10 full time employees and will only need about 3 or 4 with this transition. The others will work in different areas of the public works department.

The Chattanooga landfill expansion has been pushed back as a result of the move.

The city was scheduled to expand the landfill in three years, but since most of the garbage will be moved to Bradley County, officials won't have to look into that project for 15 years.

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