Are We Being Poisoned?

It’s a simple enough question and one that seems like it’d be simple enough to answer, but I’ll be damned if I know.

Would it be wrong to start harassing the new editor of the Scene about this or would he think I’m a crackpot?

One of my many sources* sent me the press release and media information for the media conference BURNT and the NAACP had on Monday. I wish I’d have known about it ahead of time. I would have gone. No matter. I have this stuff to sort through and I bring you the juicy stuff.

Quoting from the press release:

On 28 July at 11 a.m. at the Nashville Branch of the NAACP, 1308 Jefferson Street, the NAACP joined with BURNT to release an Expert Opinion by Mark Quarles, Professional Geologist, documenting groundwater pollution and regulatory errors by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at multiple Tennessee landfills including Middle Point Landfill in Murfreesboro, Dickson County Landfill, Southern Services Landfill in North Nashville, and other Tennessee Landfills. Quarles, P.G., written Expert Opinion documents extensive landfilling of heavy industrial waste at unlined Southern Services Construction and Demolition Landfill with no testing for VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Quarles also documents the failure of TDEC to force polluting companies to clean up the Dickson County Landfill prior to multiple bankruptcies which makes Dickson County and the City of Dickson responsible for the clean up. Quarles documents multiple errors by TDEC in placing landfills in karst geology [fissures and cracks which allow migration of pollution], landfills close to drinking water supplies, and the use of springs rather than wells to monitor pollution.

Whew, that was a long paragraph and not very clearly written, but let me boil it down to what I think is the important essence. One, as we know, the Dickson County Landfill is a terrible, poisonous mess (and yet, people are building new houses right along side it). Two, the Middle Point Landfill in Murfreesboro and the Southern Services Landfill are both filled with scary stuff**. Three, the Southern Services landfill is unlined, which means that any scary stuff in there is leaking into the ground. And four, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is doing a shit job of monitoring the groundwater near those sites.

I have a number of unresolved questions about the Dickson Landfill–1. Are its boundaries now as large as its historic boundaries? 2. If so, then why are there pipes to let out gas on the other side of the road? 3. Even if the newer parts of the dump are lined, are the old parts? 4. If the contaminated wells have been sealed off (now), is that an acknowledgment that the groundwater is still contaminated? 5. If the groundwater is contaminated, are people who live near the dump (especially the fools who share a backyard with it) in any danger when it rains, if they have, say leaky basements? In other words, is it possible for water to seep through the dump, through the ground, and into their basements? 6. Isn’t it true that Dickson stopped using the lake near the dump to supply water to the city in part because of concerns about contamination? 7. If so, why then are people allowed to now fish out of that lake? Shouldn’t that be a cause for concern?

But I’m curious about the landfill just up the road from our friends’ house in North Nashville. Is it true that this landfill is unlined? Is it also true that they take all kinds of construction waste? And is that not a problem with the landfill being only about a half a mile from the Cumberland?

I am but one woman, and I’m lazy. Can’t some media person investigate this and find out?

*I hope that’s clearly a joke.

**From TDEC’s own site, we learn that sitting in the Middle Point Landfill are such exciting things as treated sludge, regular sludge, zinc electroplating, oil and fuel contaminated soil and gravel, oil and grease solids, powder coating, stabilized wastewater treatment sludge, sludge, sludge, sludge, more sludge, solid ink sludge, coolant, lubricant, hot metal glue, glue ball, waste biosolids…

Mmm, makes you want to run out and take a dip in the Stones River, doesn’t it?

5 thoughts on “Are We Being Poisoned?

  1. From professional experience, I can attest that you’ve never written a more true sentence fragment than,
    the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is doing a shit job

    For extra credit, look on a map and see how close Southern Services is to the Cumberland River.

  2. I’m with Sar on the professional abilities of TDEC. That’s the most half assed and arbitrary government agency I’ve dealt with. And I’ve dealt with a lot of half assed and arbitrary government agencies. (FEMA is second if you’re curious.)

    The Southern Services landfill is unlined because it doesn’t need to be lined for construction and demolition waste. A construction/demolition landfill supposedly just takes old wood, concrete, bricks The accusation you quoted doesn’t say there is scary stuff in there. They’re accusing TDEC of not testing the waste brought in to make sure their isn’t scary stuff in it.

  3. Come on, what are a few heavy metals between friends? Builds character to drink a little cadmium.

    Try living in Oak Ridge. The city claims we have the cleanest water in the state because of federal laws governing the plants here. Right, I glow green when I drink tap water here.

  4. Oak Ridge is just on its own level. I was involved in a bridge project near the K-25 plant and our environmental staff was saying the construction workers would have to wear hazmat suits based on previous levels of contamination. Then they got in there and checked and it was clean. The theory…… the contaminated sediment on the river bottom washed downstream.

    It is good for one thing. My mother grew up there and I tell my sister her oddities are caused by that.

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