New York City wastewater treatment plants will reportedly stop sending trains filled with partially treated sewage to Alabama after Yellowhammer State residents complained about the “horrific” smell and sludge-driven health issues.
The wastewater treatment plants — six from New York City and one from New Jersey — began dumping biosolids into the Big Sky Environmental, LLC landfill in Adamsville, Alabama, more than a year ago, according to AL.com. The state became a landing zone for New York City sewage as the state faces challenges to solve its waste problem. The Environmental Protection Agency said in 1988 that waste should not end up in the ocean.
But the operation has left a sour taste among locals, who said the waste brought on disgusting smell and a slew of health concerns.
“On a hot day, the odor and flies are horrific,” West Jefferson Mayor Charles Nix, who resides near the landfill, told The Guardian. “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."
Nix said people were “miserable” being around the sewage. He added people would get sewage water splattered onto their vehicles when they drove too close. People in Walker county also reported fly infestations and a rotten stench.
“If you get close to the trucks the liquid would blow off on to your windshield and fill your car with a stink. It spilled out on to the road,” Nix said.
Edward Timbers, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection told AL.com the operation was being suspended to address local concerns after a slew of complaints. It’s unclear if the operation was just temporarily stopped, or is gone for good.
West Jefferson residents also filed a lawsuit against Big Sky for the sewage issue.
“I guess we are not even as good as the fish, down here in Alabama,” Nix said. “Every state should be responsible for its own waste. We don’t want it dumped here.”
About 7 percent of New York City waste goes to the Alabama landfill, according to the Guardian.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.