Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chinese news agency covered Nashville oil spill story Nashville media ignored

After the historic May flood, I documented the oil and/or chemical spill in East Germantown around the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. As far as I knew no news service covered that spill. But I was wrong. There was an agency in China that covered our hyper-local environmental crisis.

Reporters with the Xinhua news service were on the scene last May 4 corroborating with photos what I witnessed and giving more behind-the-scenes details (though not much more because Metro still did not divulge analysis):
Xinhua reporters at the scene saw workers in Metro Water Services uniforms laying fabric-like material and boom in the water and on the shore. The slick has darkened grass on the shore.

Workers at the scene said they are not authorized to speak to media, and phone calls to Metro Water Services went unanswered.

Rachel Vance, a spokeswomen with Nashville Emergency Operations center ... confirmed to Xinhua it was indeed an oil leak, and authorities were still trying to determine its origin ....

"They don’t know why [oil sludge spilled] yet, they are just trying to get a remedy as quickly as possible,” she said, noting more information could become available Wednesday.

The Coast Guard was assisting local authorities in their efforts. Jason Kuriaen, a Coast Guard member said they are trying to identify the source of the spill, as local workers focused on mitigating the impact of the oil spill.

He said the spill seemed to be a mixture of waste oil and oily sludge, and they are still in the process of making contact with companies in the area and gathering information.
I am not aware of any disclosures to the public about the nature or degree of the spill across the Downtown Connector Greenway. NewsChannel5 covered efforts to contain a spill on the East Bank, but no local news media covered the East Germantown spill. They left it up to the Chinese.

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