Poop Train

AP Photo/Jay Reeves

Infamous 'Poop Train' From NYC Flushed Out Of Alabama Town

April 19, 2018 - 11:57 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- They are breathing easy again in the tiny Alabama town of Parrish.

That's because the now infamous "poop train" has been flushed out of town.

For more than two months, the train full of human waste from New York City, which was being shipped to the Big Sky landfill, sat in the town right near a Little League ball field.

Residents said the stench was unbearable.

Now, the "nightmare" is over. Big Sky hired more truck drivers to get rid of the waste from the train cars and the final container has been emptied, Parrish Mayor Heath Hall said.

"I know this situatuion took longer than anyone, especially myself, had hoped it would take to come to an end. It was a very complicated situation that took the cooperation of multiple entities," Hall said.

Lax zoning laws and inexpensive land in Alabama have led to a lot of waste heading there.

"Other towns and cities have been fighting this material in their towns for years," Hall said. "While what happened in Parrish was, to our understanding, an unprecedented event, there are sttill small towns like Parrish fighting this situation on a smaller scale. I will say this over and over....this material does not need to be in a populated area...period. It greatly diminishes the quality of life for those who live anywhere near it."

Town officials are now considering new zoning laws.

New York City, which aims to send "zero waste" to landfills by 2030, has stopped shipments to Alabama for now.

It has become more challenging and costly for New York City to dispose of its sewage sludge in recent years, city documents show.

New York was forced to find new methods after the federal government in 1988 banned the city's longtime practice of dumping it in the ocean.

In recent years, New York City contractors had dumped the waste at landfills relatively close to the city, but those landfills have significantly reduced the amount of waste they will accept, according to a city budget document.

Sending it to other communities also has prompted complaints about the smell. Two landfills in Pennsylvania, for instance, quit accepting sludge from New York City after odor complaints and violations, according to the documents.

New York City projects higher disposal costs through fiscal year 2020, partly because the waste will have to be transported farther away from the city.

(Copyright 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)