Former councilman says proposal would endanger airplanes

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 11:45pm

Update 12:05 p.m. — Various callers to the The City Paper have pointed out that the legislation in question addresses “construction and demolition” recycling facilities specifically. Hence, the likelihood of construction or demolition debris attracting birds would seem to be minimal.

Currently, Metro prohibits outside recycling facilities, but Metro officials say it’s impractical to perform all construction-and-demolition recycling within enclosed structures. The idea behind the bill is to increase recycling in Davidson County and divert more waste away from landfills.

As originally reported:

A former Metro councilman is urging the council to consider the ramifications of and vote against a bill that would allow outdoor recycling facilities in Davidson County.

In an email sent to council members, John Summers, who most recently represented parts of west Nashville on the council, calls attention to a bill he claims “would lower the current standards for recycling facilities” and create some potentially dangerous unintended consequences.

At issue is an ordinance that would overhaul a Metro policy that says recycling operations –– which refer to the separation, processing and treatment of recyclable material –– must be carried out inside enclosed structures. The bill, sponsored by council members Walter Hunt and Parker Toler, is up for the final of three votes at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Recommended by Mayor Karl Dean’s Green Ribbon Committee, the impetus behind the ordinance is to divert waste away from landfills and to recycling sites. According to Metro Public Works officials, it’s “impractical” to recycle waste from construction and demolition sites entirely within enclosed buildings.

Skeptics, however, have pointed out the new law could allow for the construction of an outdoor recycling facility near John C. Tune Airport. Plans for a facility are believed to be in the works. The fear is an outdoor center in that area could attract birds, posing danger to nearby planes.

“I have learned to fly small airplanes and fly mostly out of John Tune,” Summers wrote in the email. “This ordinance would allow one of these facilities to be [built] next to the airport. Without being enclosed, this could potentially be deadly to aircraft flying in and out of Tune.

“There is nothing more frightening to a pilot than to have a bird fly across our flight path,” he continued. “I have literally seen windshields crushed in by a bird strike. We all know birds can put a commercial plane into the Hudson River.”

1 Comment on this post:

By: dustywood on 9/21/10 at 6:57

Whether birds would be attracted to constuction debris should be considered. There are buildings big enough to cover most anything if the recycling processer wants to do so. Also a building would protect the workers. Mostly birds are found near regular trash dumps. But construction debris would surely attract other wild life as well as rats. That would attract birds of prey as rats are food to them. Already there are issues of deer on the runway.