Update To Sevier County Solid Waste Plan and New Short-Term Rental Household Waste Sites

Sevier County, Tennessee – At the Sevier County Board of Commissioners Meeting on June 26, 2023, Resolution 2023-06-13 was passed establishing a fee schedule pertaining to new short-term rental household garbage sites within Sevier County. As a part of this resolution, the Intergovernmental Committee of the Sevier County Board of Commissioners is formulating and finalizing updates and improvements to the Sevier County Solid Waste Convenience Centers and overall management plan.

Sevier County and the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville manage waste collectively via the Sevier Solid Waste facility where waste is recycled, processed into compost, or placed within the landfill. Sevier County Government utilizes eleven (11) county-operated convenience centers to provide various locations for Sevier County residents to dispose of their household garbage and other accepted items such as residential demolition, recyclable materials, and even some household hazardous waste items without having to go directly to the Sevier Solid Waste facility. The long-standing policy states that these sites are for Sevier County residents’ use only, with a maximum load of fifteen (15) regular-sized bags per vehicle a day of personal household garbage. The use of these convenience centers is free to residents of Sevier County. Commercial businesses would dispose of garbage and refuse directly at the Sevier Solid Waste facility paying a tipping fee for disposal or subcontracting with another waste collection service to provide the service.

In order to help with operations at the Sevier Solid Waste facility, Sevier County has traditionally allowed small short-term rental cleaning companies, even though they are a commercial business, to dispose of garbage at the residential convenience centers. With the large increase in tourism and the use of short-term rentals in Sevier County, there has been a significant increase in household garbage generated by short-term rentals and a demand for locations to take this garbage. Currently, officials with the Sevier County Department of Solid Waste Management and Services estimate approximately twenty to twenty-five (20-25) tons of garbage generated by short-term rentals are disposed of each day in the residential convenience centers across the county.

This high volume of short-term rental garbage disposed within the residential convenience centers, in addition to the already significant usage by Sevier County residents, has caused many operating issues including the early closing of convenience centers due to compactors being full and the inability of residents to use the residential convenience centers. In addition to the high-volume issue, the operating hours of the residential convenience centers are designed for residential use and may not be compatible or convenient for short-term rentals.

The Sevier County Board of Commissioners recognized this growing issue and via the Intergovernmental Committee established the foundation for enhanced services that would improve the solid waste service for both residents and short-term rentals who are a vital part of the local economy. Sevier County plans to open the first short-term rental household garbage collection site on Ridge Road in the Fall of 2023. This site will provide access for short-term rentals who utilize small cleaning companies or subcontractors to dispose of bagged household garbage while expanding the operational hours and days including some holiday hours. In addition to the site on Ridge Road, Sevier County is working on other potential sites and partnerships including one in the Gatlinburg area. The newly established fee schedule will provide
revenue to establish these sites and cover operational costs including tipping and disposal fees at the Sevier Solid Waste facility.

With the opening of the new short-term rental household garbage site, Sevier County will begin enforcing the Sevier County resident-only rule at the other traditional convenience centers this fall. This should greatly increase the capacity at the traditional convenience center sites. In addition, Sevier County will continue expanding and improving several traditional residential convenience centers. These improvements should enhance the service provided to residents of Sevier County.

The Sevier County Department of Solid Waste Management and Services will be releasing additional information in the coming months concerning the opening date of the Ridge Road Short-Term Rental Household Garbage Site and overall operating procedures to be expected by individuals who would
utilize this site.