With over 8.5 million people densely packed into just about 300 square miles, waste management in New York City is a challenge. There are many solutions currently in place, including shipping some of our sewer sludge around the country. In this video from Vice News, learn why some of our sewage is stuck on a "poop train" in a small Alabama town.
No one, it seems, wants the poop train. And not the city of New York, which paid an Alabama landfill company to take it. Not small towns in Pennsylvania, where several sites recently stopped accepting the city's treated human waste. And not the town of West Jefferson, Alabama, where the waste, a product called biosolids, was transferred to dump trucks at the local rail yard — until the city won an injunction to stop the landfill company, Big Sky Environmental, from using their town as a transfer point.
That federal court decision stranded roughly 250 containers full of treated New York sewage one town over, on rail cars in tiny Parrish, Alabama. The overwhelming smell polluting the air here on warm days underscores how easy it is for something to go wrong in the nation’s fragile sewage-disposal system. New York City once sold its biosolids to farmers as fertilizer. But the city decided that method was too expensive, and now ships treated sewage to cost-saving landfills.
Until recently, one of those site was the landfill run by Big Sky Environmental. Then, New York City cancelled its contract with the company after Parrish residents complained about the smell, and the company has begun to move cars out of the area. So there's a solution in sight for residents of Parrish, but New York has an endless stream of waste that has to be dealt with, without breaking the bank.
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