HUNTSVILLE — Convincing the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation to give a nod of approval to the use of the old county landfill on Sulfer Creek Road for a law enforcement shooting range may be an uphill battle, according to a memo presented to members of Scott County Commission’s Emergency Services Committee Monday evening.
The memo, from Knoxville-based Geo Services LLC’s Brian Chomicki, indicated that TDEC might be unable to prevent Scott County from using the old landfill as a shooting range location, but that the state agency might make life difficult for county officials in their inspections of the landfill.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Department has identified the old landfill, located in Helenwood, as an ideal location for a shooting range, which would be used for training and certification purposes. Representatives from the department approached County Commission last month to request help in locating property for such a range, since the range at Possum Trot in Winfield is no longer available to them.
But there are concerns about whether TDEC would give its blessing to such a project, due to the possibility of the soil cap at the landfill being breached due to penetrating bullets or for other reasons.
Chomicki, who was contacted by Scott County Mayor’s Office administrative assistant Mary Ann Perdue about the possibility of using the landfill for a shooting range, reached out to TDEC concerning the proposed project.
In an email to Chomicki, TDEC’s Patrick Mulligan said proposals to place shooting ranges on abandoned landfills “is not an unusual request . . . especially in the rural counties.” But, he added, TDEC’s Division of Solid Waste does not consider that a “preferred option” for landfill usage.
While TDEC supports “less intrusive” activities, such as golf courses, ball parks and club activities, Mulligan said, “I don’t think the Division will look favorably at this use actually ‘on’ the facility.”
Chomicki concluded that TDEC cannot cannot prevent Scott County from using the landfill as a shooting range. But, he added, “they might increase their inspection frequency and may be more likely to issue violations if damage to the soil cap is observed.”
In his recommendation to the county, Chomicki suggested that TDEC be presented with a proposed layout for the shooting range, with a design that would prevent bullet damage to the soil cap. If damage to the soil cap would be unavoidable, he said, additional soil would need be placed downrange around the area that would be impacted by bullets in order to prevent damage to the cap.
Ultimately, County Commission’s Emergency Services Committee took no action on the measure at Monday’s meeting.