Overview of the Reporting Process: Like other states, Tennessee uses Re-TRAC Connect, a web based service that does not require specialized software to be installed on the user’s computer, in order to request and collect data for annual reports. This service simplifies the process of submitting data for the APR and allows users to readily generate charts and graphs and create customized reports so they can monitor program and trends.
The Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 states that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) “shall make available on its website, by January 1 of each year, the forms and information to be used by the regions to file an Annual Progress Report (APR).” It also states that “each region shall submit the annual report to the commissioner by March 31 for the immediately preceding calendar year…which will include data on the following: collection, recycling, transportation, disposal, public costs, and any other information that the board, by rule, deems relevant to solid waste planning and management.” Furthermore, regions are also required to submit an APR on the implementation of their approved Municipal Solid Waste Regional Plans in conjunction with the annual report.
Why Local Solid Waste Management Reporting Matters: The 1991 Solid Waste Management Plan identified the following solid waste issues: uncertainty regarding solid waste capacity, lack of a materials management approach (including lack of capacity in recycling collection and processing), inadequate garbage collection infrastructure, and lack of information about the cost of solid waste management. Reporting has played and will continue to play a key role in addressing all of these issues.
Reporting allows TDEC to: assess how regional plans tie into the State Plan; better understand how regions are implementing their plans; determine which regions are meeting established goals; understand why regions may not be meeting current goals; better set goals and expectations; and consider changes in waste management costs and waste capacity needs.
Current annual report can be found at here.
Will there be follow-up questions when the state reviews the document?
Yes, TDEC reviews the plan update, recycling, diversion and disposal tonnages until August. During this time TDEC may request additional information and verify reported tonnages.
When will I find out if the 25% waste reduction and diversion goal was achieved by my region?
TDEC will send APR approval letters in August. The letter will indicate your current waste reduction and diversion goal percentage. TDEC will send a different letter if the Region failed to meet the goal discussing the next steps for qualitative assessment.
How will the state use this information?
TDEC will use this information for statewide planning. Statewide planning includes review of statewide needs and infrastructure requirements that will help. TDEC will create technical assistance tools, grant applications and workshops. TDEC will use this information in the annual report to the governor and general assembly, information requests, presentations and EPA’s state data measurement sharing program.
Can I access my information year around?
Yes, historical data can be accessed 24/7 when internet connection is available. Also, TDEC can provide historical information upon request.
What items are required for the APR to be completed by March 31?
There are three items needed for the APR to be recognized as completed by TDEC.
1: The report author of the APR must submit the plan update narrative fields, recycling, diversion, and disposal reports.
2: The solid waste board must review and approve the submitted APR.
3: The county executive/mayor must review and approve the submitted APR.
What if the Region does not submit all the required information by March 31?
Failure to submit an adequate plan update can lead to sanctions and penalties. If a municipal solid waste region fails to submit an adequate plan in a timely fashion or if the commissioner does not approve any plan submitted to it, or for any other noncompliance with a provision of this part, then the commissioner shall impose the following sanctions, as appropriate, on the noncompliant county or region: On the first instance of noncompliance, the commissioner shall issue a letter of warning to the noncompliant county or region indicating the reasons for noncompliance, setting forth the sequence of graduated sanctions for noncompliance and offering technical assistance to remedy the causes of noncompliance. Any noncompliance shall be resolved as soon as possible. If noncompliance continues for thirty (30) days after receipt of the warning letter, the noncomplying county or region shall lose eligibility for funds from the solid waste management fund, unless the commissioner states