The following abstract is from a paper that was presented at The State of Environmental Justice in America 2007 Conference:
Dickson County Landfill: Site Remediation and Environmental Justice Implications
Tiffany Hines1, Roger Painter1, Valetta Watson1,2
1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
2Watson Environmental Group, Inc., Nashville, TN
The Dickson County landfill in Dickson, Tennessee has recently garnered national attention in regards to the presence of trichloroethylene (TCE) in drinking wells in the surrounding community. Containers full of TCE were routinely buried at the landfill prior to the implementation of more stringent landfill regulations and guidelines. TCE is a suspected carcinogen capable of causing heart and nervous system damage, and birth defects. The now closed Dickson County landfill is located approximately 1.5 miles southwest of the city of Dickson in a predominantly African-American community. In spite of official knowledge of the risks associated with drinking the well water, residents were unaware of this hazardous waste and have ingested it over many years. This paper briefly outlines the remedial activities that have historically occurred on the site, and what effect it has had on the largely minority population in the landfill vicinity. Written from an engineering perspective, the Dickson County landfill will serve as a case study on the implications of engineering ethics. A description of the remediation efforts that have occurred at the site to date will be examined, as well as, how issues related to environmental justice have played a part in these remediation choices.
Image: Southeast view of the Dickson County Landfill with the Transfer Station and mechanic shop (closer building) in background. Courtesy of USGS.