Bumpass Cove Citizens Group, Incorporated
Embreeville and Bumpass Cove are small mountain communities located at the southeastern border of Washington County and include a small part of Unicoi County in East Tennessee. Bumpass Cove had a long history of iron, lead, zinc, and manganese mining. In June 1972, the Bumpass Cove Environmental Controls and Minerals Corporation obtained a permit from the Tennessee Department of Public Health, Division of Solid Waste Management, to operate a sanitary landfill located in an old mining site near the head of the cove.
While the principal parties remained the same, the name of the waste company changed through the years. In 1974, the name changed to Wasteplex, Inc. and again to Waste Resources of Tennessee, a subsidiary of Waste
Resources, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation. Waste Resources of Tennessee became a subsidiary of Waste Management in March 1981. No hazardous or toxic waste was to be deposited in this landfill unless the Division of Solid Waste Management was notified and gave approval for each specific waste to be received by the landfill.
In November 1972, the Bumpass Cove Development Corporation [BCDC] discussed the feasibility and design of a proposed liquid waste incinerator to burn the hazardous and hard-to-treat liquid wastes. Tentative approval from the Division of Air Quality Control and Division of Solid Waste Management was given pending completion of a formal permitting process to operate a liquid waste incinerator. The incinerator, located in the old Fowler mining site, was operated in an improper manner. BCDC never completed application for the incinerator to become a permitted facility. Subsequently, it was closed by the Division of Air Quality Control.
A few residents believed that unauthorized wastes were being deposited at both the main landfill and the Fowler site. Julian Hobart Story and William Robert Story wrote letters and began to seek help as concerned citizens. Community suspicion of illegal practices increased. In July 1979, a picket line was formed to stop trucks from hauling waste to the main landfill. Increased numbers of citizens became involved, and the Bumpass Cove Citizens Group was incorporated on November 26, 1979. The objectives of the group included removal of hazardous waste from the old mine sites, education, and awareness of community development. Skip Foss was the first president. Partly in response to citizen pressure, Waste Resources decided to close the landfill in December 1979.
The group received grant monies for operating expenses and for purchase of a building. Vanderbilt Center for Health Services helped the community with an area health survey in the summer of 1980. The relationship between the organization and Highlander Research Education Center became an issue in 1980-1981. Although a legal attempt was made to dissolve the Bumpass Cove Citizens Group, its charter was reinstated in April 1981.