Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Metro Water does not view their planned neighborhood dump as a landfill except when they do view it as a landfill

Metro Water Services is not creating a landfill [in North Nashville].

-- Metro Water PR pro Sonia Harvat in an email reply to me today

[W]e’re going to be putting it in a concrete vault, covered in clay...which is pretty much like a landfill.
-- Metro Water manager Ron Taylor to Pith blog, (05/24/2013)

Today I wrote Ms. Harvat asking her to help me contact Ron Taylor so I could ask straight up how they could at once pitch debris they are burying to the public as "safe" and call the sealing clay covering the debris "a protective cap". To be specific: why do we need to be protected from debris that MWS claimed in a recent Tennessean story was safe?

Despite Mr. Taylor's acknowledgement to Pith that the debris is "pretty much" going to go into something akin to a new landfill, Ms. Harvat rejected my use of "landfill" in describing the project, insisting that it be characterized as "backfilling a concrete basement left from a demolished building". What a stretch. She never really addressed the seeming contradiction: employing terms like "tomb" (or "vault") and "protective cap" and then broadcasting that the PCB, lead and arsenic levels in the material are "safe" via the Tennessean's pandering piece written by Bobby Allyn (who contacted me last week by email for an opinion on the dump, but simply recited Metro Water's line in a way that struck me as beholden to Metro spin and journalistically disingenuous. I referred him to this blog in case he ran with my opinion). Ms. Harvat also failed to admit that Mr. Taylor (whom she copied in her email reply to me) characterized it as "like a landfill" 4 days ago (which I just found out about 2 hours ago).

Metro Water appears to be relying on whatever argument is convenient for them at any given time. Or maybe they are just tap dancing around the terms. Or, if Ms. Harvat knew of Mr. Taylor's comments to Pith, she is simply being argumentative with me. If so, it is such bad form because I don't think she lives in North Nashville.

On a side note, I followed up with reporter Allyn today via email and suggested that he could have been more factual by acknowledging that Metro Water is going to be creating a new landfill in North Nashville without a proper public hearing process for feedback from the affected community. I did not expect to hear back from him and I have not. My views definitely deviate from the script at this awkward budget time when agencies are scratching and clawing for every cent Mayor Karl Dean might spare them. Or, depending on what interview you read, maybe my views don't deviate as much as I might be led to believe.

Footnote: the photos of Metro Water's demolition debris field and part of the basement that appear on this post were taken by me from a public road yesterday. No affected neighbors that I know of have been invited by Metro Water to observe their work. None of us knew about this dump or the previous removal of debris prohibited by the EPA until Channel 4 broke the story. Click on each photo to enlarge.

1 comment:

  1. This landfill might hinder any chance of the site being redeveloped in the future. That's f-ed up.