Environmental Activists Call Dickson County to Clean Landfill Further

The battle between Dickson County officials and families living near the county’s landfill has surfaced its head after being quiet for nearly a year.

County commissioners plan to vote Tuesday on well drilling restrictions near the landfill which opponents say amount to nothing more than a band-aid on top of larger issues. Families living near the site claim instances of cancer, nervous disorders and birth defects are more prevalent and stem from drinking contaminated well water.

Keith Caldwell works for the Nashville Peace and Justice Center and is vice president of the Dickson NAACP, which became involved after property owners claimed the dump was poorly maintained only because it fell in a black neighborhood.

Caldwell and a coalition of environmental activists are calling county commissioners to defer a decision on the well drilling until the landfill goes through a multi-million dollar clean-up and compensates families for property loss and health costs.

“We don’t want anymore wells dug. The fact that you’re voting to not dig any more wells is an acknowledgement that you realize that there are toxins in the ground. But we don’t want this to be a diversion or to be used as a slight of hand to say that you’ve fixed the problem because underground there is still an enormous problem that is brewing.”

A formal health screening has not been conducted and Dickson County Commissioners havn’t responded to the request. They’re expected to vote on the well drilling restrictions next week. The state has already spent nearly half-a-million dollars since 2003 cleaning up the site and connecting homes to the local water service.

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