Sometimes a news story just makes you go “huh”.
So it is with the story from Alabama, where a train full of feces from New Jersey and New York has been torturing a town for several months and the town is sick of it.
Two-hundred-fifty rail cars containing bio-solid sewage waste have been sitting on a spur near Parrish, Ala. They were on their way to a landfill operated by a private company in a nearby town which obtained an injunction to prevent the sludge from being dumped there.
So there the train sits, ruining the day for the good folks of Parrish.
“Oh my goodness, it’s just a nightmare here,” Mayor Heather Hall tells the Associated Press. “It smells like rotting corpses, or carcasses. It smells like death.”
You know what else it smells like? Yeah, you do.
— AP South U.S. Region (@APSouthRegion) April 18, 2018
The story is a perfect example of how little we care about where our waste goes. You flush the toilet, or throw out the trash and what do you care where it ends up so long as it doesn’t end up on a rail spur on your side of town?
But Alabama — at least west Alabama — is America’s Landfill. “America’s Pay Toilet,” as a former state official once said.
Says the Associated Press:
New York City has discontinued shipping it to Alabama for the time being, said Eric Timbers, a city spokesman. Its waste, recovered from the sewage treatment process and often called “biosolids,” has been sent out of state partly because the federal government in the late 1980s banned disposal in the Atlantic Ocean.
In an earlier trash saga, a barge laden with 3,186 tons (2,890 metric tons) of non-toxic paper and commercial garbage from Long Island and New York City wandered the ocean for months in 1987, seeking a place to dump it after plans by a private developer to turn it into methane gas in North Carolina fell through. It was turned away by North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Belize and the Bahamas.
Brooke’s Black Warrior Riverkeeper group last year opposed continued permits for the Big Sky landfill. Rural parts of Alabama are “prime targets” for landfills that accept out-of-state waste, it argued, meaning “that Alabama was becoming a dumping ground for the rest of the nation.”
Who knew that there are trainloads of poo?