Monday, May 24, 2010

Nashville Trash

A lovely place for a picnic

As if pictures of a flooded Second Avenue or Opryland Hotel weren’t enough, if you want to get an idea of the magnitude of the Nashville flood damage, head out to Edwin Warner Park, where some of the flood trash is now being hauled.

Yes, that’s right: one of Metro Nashville’s finest parks, a place that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now a trash dump. A massive trash dump. And I’m told this is just one of three such dump sites.

Yesterday Mr. Beale and I headed out with the dogs for a Sunday hike and were astonished to find mountains of flood trash covering what was once Edwin Warner’s Model Airplane Field. I came back today to take some pictures.

This raises all sorts of questions for me. Clouds of dust fill the air; is it safe? Has it been tested? Much of the trash is construction materials: dry wall, flooring, chemically treated wood, moldy carpeting. Are there toxins in this dust which could affect the surrounding neighborhoods? I saw lots of joggers and bicyclists -- this is a park, after all. Is anyone monitoring this? What about runoff? Will lead, PCB’s and other toxins wash into surrounding streams? How long will this stuff be here?

When I returned today I saw a NewsChannel5 team on the site; I guess (hope) we’ll get our answers soon.

It made my heart hurt to see it. Understanding that this represented peoples’ lives, their homes, their memories: that’s a hard pill to swallow.

And after seeing pictures of oil defiling the National Wildlife Refuges of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, to see a park in my own backyard turned into a garbage dump is ... well, it’s a kick in the gut.

(As always, click on the pics to make them larger ...)

Edwin Warner Park Trash Heap

The view from the Steeplechase