Could ‘poop trains’ be returning to Alabama?

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Could the so-called “poop trains” be heading to Alabama again? Local broadcaster CBS 42 reportedly obtained documents suggesting that might be the case.

In 2018, Alabama made national newswhen train cars carrying trash from New York City to the Big Sky Environmental Landfill in Adamsville stood idle on tracks in Walker and Jefferson counties.

“For two months this coal town of two square miles (Parrish) in the lush wooded hills northwest of Birmingham found itself mired in the troubles of others, the unwitting caretaker of a train full of £10 million of treated human waste from New York,” the Washington Post wrote in 2018.

“Destined for permanent disposal at a landfill near Adamsville, the train was blocked from crossing when a neighboring jurisdiction took a stand against the material traveling through its community. That decision left the train stranded here at the nearest stop, emitting foul odors, for what seemed like an eternity to those who had to endure it.”

According to CBS 42, government agencies and environmental groups eventually stepped in and it appeared that the practice of accepting trash from the north had stopped.

But CBS 42 recently uncovered documents from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) showing that over the past several months, several out-of-state wastewater treatment plants — in New York and in New Jersey – have been authorized to send waste to Big Sky Environmental.

In fact, according to ADEM, Big Sky had already received eight wagons from a New Jersey sewage treatment plant in recent weeks, which Big Sky disposed of at an authorized landfill.

According to CBS 42, Big Sky recently built a yard to receive the waste. However, the company does not have the proper approvals and permits to operate the new yard, the station reported.

According to the station, on February 1, ADEM officials issued a Notice of Violation to Big Sky stating, “Railway waste acceptance and associated facility operations are not currently included in the permit. installation or operating plan”.

CBS 42 reported that a local government – ​​where the landfill falls within its jurisdiction – can issue guidelines that determine where waste can be imported from.

Additionally, ADEM suggested that Big Sky should submit a detailed operating plan for how it will operate the new rail yard, and public notice would be required. Public notice periods allow the public to provide comments to the agency for a period of 35 days.

CBS 42 reported that since November of last year, ADEM had approved several out-of-state facilities to send “municipal sewage waste” to Alabama. These out-of-state facilities include: New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Essex and Union Counties in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Passaic Valley Sewage Commission in Newark, New Jersey, and Suez-Nassau-Bay Park County Wastewater Treatment. Factory in East Rockaway, New York.

However, ADEM told the station that the approval does not mean the facilities will actually send the waste.

CBS 42 said it contacted Big Sky Environmental for a statement, but company representatives did not respond.

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