BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A train transporting sewage from New York and New Jersey has prompted complaints of a rotten stench and fly infestations in Alabama with Birmingham city officials saying they’re working with authorities to clear the air.
The stench is nearly unbearable, Birmingham City Councilman John Hilliard said this week at a city council meeting.
Numerous train cars transporting sewage sludge have been rolling across the South to an Alabama landfill since early 2017, sparking widespread complaints, Al.com reported.
The sewage sludge is being transported from New York and New Jersey, lawyers for the Alabama town of West Jefferson said in a January lawsuit. It smells like “dead, rotting animals” and human waste, and has caused fly infestations in the community, the attorneys wrote.
The sewage material has also sloshed out of trucks and spilled onto roads, where it sometimes sticks to vehicle tires, West Jefferson Mayor Charles Nix has said.
“When it’s hot, if people go out to their mailbox and one of these trucks rolls by, they have to go in and shower. It’s that bad. The odor is just horrific.”
The stink has also been an issue in Parrish, where the town council held a special meeting recently regarding complaints about smelly train cars being stored at a rail yard there.
“The smell really started getting bad here,” Parrish Mayor Heather Hall told Al.com. “I mean, it was terrible.”
“It greatly reduces the quality of life of anybody that this is around,” she added. “You cannot go outside, you can’t sit on your porch, and this stuff, it’s here in our town, it’s not like it’s an industrial area.”