Alabama incensed over ‘horrific’ smell of New York City poo

Shipping containers loaded with biosolids, or sewage sludge, the solid material left over after conventional wastewater treatment processes, sit parked at a train yard in the town of Parrish, Ala. in Walker County on March 8, 2018. (Photo: Dennis Pillion | dpillion@al.com)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – New York’s poo problem has become Alabama’s poo problem, and that stinks for both of them. New York City, which produces about 1,200 tons of sewage daily, has been shipping some of it down to landfills around Birmingham that are producing a bit of a smell, the Guardian reports.

“On a hot day, the odor and flies are horrific,” says Charles Nix, the mayor of a nearby West Jefferson that’s close to a landfill with Yankee waste. “It’s better in winter time but if the wind blows in the wrong direction you get the smell. It’s like dead, rotting animals.”

A dispute over zoning rules shifted the operation to another town, but they didn’t want it, so during the squabble trains full of treated sewage have backed up near Birmingham.

New York waste became a problem when the Environmental Protection Agency declared in 1998 that it shouldn’t be pumped into the ocean—then, last year, the Big Sky Environmental, LLC landfill in Adamsville became a solution.

Complaints came from West Jefferson residents that live near the rail yard that was used to offload the cargo containers from trains onto trucks for transport to the landfill. AL.com reports the town filed a lawsuit against Big Sky, alleging that trucks spilled the sludge material onto roadways during transit to the landfill, and that the smells from the operation was detrimental to their quality of life.

“I guess we are not even as good as the fish, down here in Alabama,” says Nix. An inspection by Alabama environmental officials found “no odor leaks,” but amid outcry around Birmingham, New York broke off with the company handling Alabama disposal.

“As a precaution and to better understand local concern, we have discontinued utilizing this facility,” says a city official. Meanwhile, the city still spills billions of gallons of sewage into New York harbor annually, WXXI reports.

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