City of Murfreesboro Notifies Republic Services of Contaminated Spring on East Fork Stones River

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On November 21, 2022, the City of Murfreesboro gave written notice to Republic Services that a new contaminated spring has been found on the bank of the East Fork Stones River across from Walter Hill Recreation Area. The spring is on the west side of Middle Point Landfill, slightly upstream and across from the Walter Hill boat ramp.

The notice is an “Addendum” to the first notice sent August 10, 2022. The addendum contains a photo of the contaminated spring and two maps identifying all three contamination locations found by the City.

In total, the City has identified three locations where contaminated waters appear to be coming from the Middle Point landfill into the river. One location is a surface discharge to the river on the northwest side of Middle Point. The other two locations are from groundwater fed springs coming up into the river, each at opposite ends of Middle Point property. The new location is one of the groundwater fed springs and it is close to the surface discharge on the northwest side. The new location is commonly referred to as Bubba Spring.

The newly found spring was confirmed in October to be contaminated during near drought conditions when stormwater is not a factor. This spring had higher levels of the toxic PFOA chemical than the other groundwater spring found months ago farther upstream. This development adds to the City’s concerns currently being litigated in federal court.

The November 22 Addendum provides the notice required by federal law under the Clean Water Act. Republic will have 60 days to correct the new, unpermitted discharge. If Republic does not correct it, the claim can be added as another violation in the federal case. The City previously gave notice on August 10th of the first two unpermitted discharges of contaminated waters. When those were not corrected by Republic after 60 days, the City amended its August 1, 2022, complaint to add both discharges as violations under the Clean Water Act in the Federal suit. The city expects to add this third discharge claim in a similar manner.

Republic has publicly blamed the closed Rutherford County landfill for contamination problems. The November Addendum makes clear that the third contaminated location, Bubba Spring, is on the west side of Middle Point, and appears to be part of the groundwater monitoring set up by Republic to test groundwater passing under the Middle Point landfill, unrelated to the Rutherford County landfill farther south.