Weekly Flush: ​Trainloads of Waste Are Stranded, Causing a Big Stink in a Small Alabama Town

Also in this week's septic-related news, a landlord is emptying his septic tank with a wheelbarrow and dumping it in a hole; and west Hawaii pumpers are fed up with their local treatment plant's policies

Weekly Flush: ​Trainloads of Waste Are Stranded, Causing a Big Stink in a Small Alabama Town

A train full of biosolids is causing quite a stink in a small Alabama town. As many as 250 containers, or around 10 million pounds, of biosolids have been sitting stationary at a rail yard in Parrish since February, and the town’s residents are not happy campers. That’s understandable, considering the residents are comparing the overwhelming stench hanging over the town to dead bodies.

“It's so frustrating,” Mayor Heather Hall tells CNN. “You can’t sit out on your porch. Kids can’t go outside and play, and God help us if it gets hot and this material is still out here.”

Another frustrating aspect for the townspeople is that the waste isn’t theirs. It’s being shipped from New York and New Jersey to Big Sky Environmental, a private landfill in Adamsville, Alabama.

Our April Fools’ Day post on cleaning out septic tanks without a vacuum truck was obviously a joke, but this landlord in Sandusky, Ohio, must have read it and thought it was a great idea. The man, Jose Rodriguez, could see jail time for removing raw sewage from his septic tank, putting it into a wheelbarrow and dumping it into a hole in the ground on his property.

It doesn’t take a detective to figure out someone reported his behavior to the authorities, who then charged him with water pollution and sludge management violation. Rodriguez was ordered to upgrade his septic system and correct his violations before a May 18 sentencing date.

It’s always a bummer when we hear about animals falling into septic tanks, but at least this story about a horse getting rescued in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has a happy ending.

Authorities don’t know how the mare ended up in the tank, but they say it’s unlikely she spent any more than four hours there. It took firefighters from three area departments — along with a backhoe from a local landscaping company — around three hours to get her out.

The horse was bruised up and required treatment for hypothermia, but she is on the mend.

“She’s tough as a pine knot,” Anita Williamson with Polk Equine Emergency Rescue tells WSPA News.

Septic pumpers in west Hawaii are getting fed up with county officials, saying that the policies at the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Facility are putting them out of business.

Between disposal regulations, unresponsiveness, and a 24-hour appointment notice policy, pumpers are finding it difficult to make use of the only waste dumping site on the west side of Hawaii Island.

“If we can’t dump, we can’t pump,” one local pumper tells the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. Another pumper says the policies could create desperate pumpers, underserved customers and illegal dumping. “It could happen. If somebody cannot dispose of a load, where are they going to take it? That’s going to shut them out of business.”

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald’s full story is available online here, and it sounds like a mess.

In other septic news, a trailer park owner in Florida has a few days to get his slumlike conditions under control, and the main problem is a broken septic tank left to leak raw sewage all over the ground. There also are homes without electricity or hot water.

The community is supporting the park’s owner, however, and they’re doing everything they can to help him get the situation under control.

The Florida Department of Health is holding a hearing on the matter April 27.


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