A train carrying 200 containers, or 10 million pounds of New York City sewage sludge (i.e. shit) is stuck in an Alabama rail yard, leaving a small town of around 1,000 people choking on the foul stench.
The poop train has sat for months in limbo in a Parrish, Ala. trainyard, just two hours north of Montgomery, after a legal dispute arose between waste management facilities in New York and New Jersey, which originally shipped the biowaste to Big Sky Environment landfill in Adamsville, AL.
200 containers of New York City sewage sludge have been stranded on a train in northern Alabama because of a legal dispute.— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) March 30, 2018
Northern Alabama isn’t happy. https://t.co/4nDvHLXcni
When neighboring West Jefferson filed and won an injunction against Big Sky in January to prevent the "shit train" from evacuating its fecal freight, the load was moved to Parrish, where there are no zoning laws against keeping it there - and where it has sat ever since.
"People need to understand that this waste does not need to be in a populated area," said Parrish Mayor Heather Hall. "There are places to put it, industrial places. We're a very small town caught in the middle of this, and I feel like that's part of the issue here. This shouldn't be happening."
“It greatly reduces the quality of life,” Hall said. “You can’t sit out on your porch. Kids can’t go outside and play, and God help us if it gets hot and this material is still out here.” On Tuesday, when Hall spoke to CNN, the temperature in Parrish reached 81 degrees.
“You can’t open your door because that stuff gets in your house. It’s really rough,” Parrish resident Robert Hall told CNN affiliate WVTM. Other residents said the waste smelled like dead bodies.
Hall told CNN that as many as 252 tractor-trailer loads of feces was stockpiled in the Parrish rail yard adjacent to a baseball field - permeating the entire two-mile-wide town with the fetid fallout. The mayor said she expected the poo train to be moved within days of its February arrival. She met with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and other state lawmakers last week in order to try and find a solution to the fecal fiasco.
The Mayor was assured by the EPA that the waste is not dangerous. "Other than it smelling absolutely terrible, I have to trust them that it's not going to hurt you," Hall told CNN. She also said she's been asked by colleagues in the capital city of Montgomery not to file an injunction of the landfill - as it would likely guarantee the poo train wouldn't move until the trial is over.
When will this be over? In short, nobody knows. “I’m just getting little bits and pieces of information, and I cannot tell you how frustrating it is,” Hall said. “My understanding is, they are really trying to work on the problem, and they keep telling us the situation is almost over.”
While temperatures in Parrish are in the 70's right now, they are expected to rise into the low 80s by the end of the month - and hit the mid 90's by July.