Friday, July 21, 2006

Metro's Contract Mired in BFI's Sludge-omatic as the North End Suffers for the Soup

Private corporation BFI apparently thinks that it can shirk its contractual responsibilities to our community by slowing down sludge-removal out of Nashville. This is the inherent risk when government work is contracted out to private companies; some of us who have to brook the stench in the North End wonder whether Metro's risk was worth it. If Metro itself hauled out the stuff we could hold them accountable. BFI is apparently so smug that they do not even bother to return phone calls about the problem. They obviously know that we depend on them to send the trucks in and to haul sludge out. That amounts to an over-under relationship that I would label "co-dependent." It is time that we should stop enabling BFI's upper hand on our city.

As for Metro Water's defense via Sonya Harvat that the increased stench is not due to BFI's foot-dragging ways, but due to the process itself and "atmospheric conditions," I have two responses. First, that defense is unbelievable, given that the increase in the days of stench seems to parallel the slowdown in sludge removal. Before BFI's recent slowdown, we were only dealing with the odors on Mondays and the days after holidays. That pattern was consistent with information given to me by a Metro Water employee who works in the facility: BFI truck drivers were not contracted to work on Sundays or holidays, which was the reason for that hellacious day-after smell. That brings me to my second point: the defense is unbelievable, because while Metro Water blames the smell on uncontrollable factors publicly, even upper-level managers seem to concede outside of the harsh glare that North End neighbors should expect the smells on Mondays and the days after holidays because of the contractual agreement with BFI. So, if the regular smelly days are due to contractual conditions, which Metro Water admits off-camera, why should we blame the exponential daily increase from March through June on anything but BFI's refusal to abide the contract? Isn't it common sense that increased sludge refused by BFI would increase the days of stink? Is it pure accident that BFI is shirking its contract while smells are increasing?

I dislike the neglect and the excuses as much as I loath the odors. May the funk settle on both BFI's and Metro Water's houses. And if not a funk, then a pox.


  1. Let's drop the BFI contract NOW! Enough of the big corporate entities. Bring it back to Metro or find some smaller independent haulers.

  2. Am I the only north end resident who sometimes thinks that even my water coming from the tap smells like raw sewage? This whole thing is just gross.