What’s That Smell?

By Thomas Sheffield

The good Lord blessed us with five basic senses.  The government and business community will lead us to believe our sense of smell is not working.  If you travel around Nashville on Briley Parkway in Bordeaux, you will occasionally get a whiff of what is going on at the landfill.  Bordeaux,  predominately black neighborhood is and has been dealing with environmental justice issues for decades.  The fight to close the landfill in Bordeaux has been going on for more than 40 years and its residents thought the fight was over.  We thought it was closed and the battle was won but it has been open to allow discarded construction materials and yard waste to be brought there.  But if that was all that was there, what is causing the horrible smell?  

Metro Water Services has made progress in controlling the smells coming from its water waste facility in downtown Nashville.  Sewage sludge was gathered and removed from our wastewater and shipped throughout the region.  We used to get a constant smell of waste solids being removed and treated through anaerobic digestion.  This is the process where organic matter like animal or food waste is broken down to produce biogas and bio-fertilizer.  People who live and work around this treatment facility may have noticed a reduction in the smells coming from this plant.  Metro water services has invested in an infrastructure that allows the smell to be reduced and the community near the treatment center to thrive.  The past 10 years has introduced an increase in business in Germantown and the rising home values in the area.  The Nashville Sounds even moved to the area as First Tennessee Park was opened in 2015.  Do you think the city would open an outdoor ballpark in an area that produced an unpleasant smell all day every day?

Again, if the land fill was allowed to only discard construction materials and yard waste, would you get that horrible smell?  I think not.  Apparently, there are trucks entering the landfill after hours spraying the landfill with sludge brought from other areas.  The same sludge being treated and turned into fertilizer by our own Metro Water Services.  Toxic sludge is being brought in and creating unpleasant smells in our community and around our schools.  Sludge is being sprayed in a landfill that lies less than 1 mile from the Cumberland River.

This facility was allowed to open without much community input.  The landfill was expanded to a class three facility that is not to affect the soil or water.  However, the people of the community are still being dumped on driving property values down.  Property values all over the city have increased while the values are stagnant in Bordeaux.  Is this part of a larger scheme?  Is Bordeaux not worthy of development or a new Soccer stadium?  We must force our council, mayor and state representatives to bring value to all tax payers and not just a few.

Please feel free to contact me thomsustainableconsulting@gmail.com or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. #Resist #WordsActionChange

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