Two months ago, dozens of train cars filled with ten million pounds of human shit from waste disposal plants in New York and New Jersey came to rest outside the town of Parrish, Alabama, population 982.
They've been there ever since, rotting in the sun, smelling unimaginably bad.
They were destined for a landfill site in Adamsville, Alabama, but the residents of the adjacent town of West Jefferson obtained an injunction blocking the site's staging railyard from receiving the biowaste, so now the shit is in limbo in Parrish, where a the region's commitment to small government and light-touch regulation means there's no rules against storing tons of human feces in populated areas.
Parrish Mayor Heather Hall said she is doing everything in her power to get the feculent freight out of her town.
"It's so frustrating," Hall said. Last week, Hall met with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, and she and other Montgomery lawmakers told Hall they would help get it sorted out. "They're trying to work behind the scenes to get us a little bit of help, but we've been told that for weeks, and there's still no solution."
Hall said the stench permeates everything. The rail yard is across from a baseball field and next to a softball field. Parrish only measures about 2 square miles, and pretty much everything is within smelling distance.
"It greatly reduces the quality of life," Hall said. "You can't sit out on your porch. Kids can't go outside and play, and God help us if it gets hot and this material is still out here." On Tuesday, when Hall spoke to CNN, the temperature in Parrish reached 81 degrees.
(Image: DemocraticLuntz, CC-BY-SA)