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Train carrying sludge raises a stink in town

GLADSTONE, Va. (WTVR) – A tiny town is protesting a giant stink.

The residents of Gladstone said that when they step outside to get some fresh air, they get smacked in the face with the stench of sewage.

The little town, with a population around 24, is settled at the base of Buck Mountain, about two hours southwest of Richmond.

Residents said that sometimes the smell is so bad they can’t stomach their food and what’s even more frustrating for them–they claim that just a half-mile would eliminate the odor.

The source is a CSX train carrying treated human waste. The folks living here say they’ve been fighting over fecal matters with CSX long enough.

Residents said it’s like a cow pasture 15 feet from the door.

These particular rail cars are moving treated waste from New York and New Jersey.

Farmers in the surrounding counties use the treated feces as fertilizer.

People living here claim this batch of foul-smelling fertilizer has been sitting in front of their homes since the second week of November.

They don’t mind the practice of famer’s using the waste, rather the neighbors mind that the stink is left sitting so close to their town.

“We’ve been fighting CSX and Epic Containers about leaving these containers down here since 1997,” said Mary Kathryn Allen, who has a binder full of proof.

Inside are response letters, from letters she’s written to county leaders and elected officials. 12:08

“The poor town has no one else to turn to, that is why we contacted you, with hope someone will listen to us.”

CSX replied to our inquiry. They released a statement that reads in part:

“CSX has been moving this approved and regulated material for more than 10 years…and they require the material to be moved in containers that don’t leak…the containers are removed from Gladstone’s rail yard where the customer takes them for delivery based on business.

The railroad works to benefit the economy, meet the needs of its customer and be a good neighbor.  CSX has been moving this approved and regulated material for its customer for more than 10 years.  The railroad works closely with the customer, requiring that the material be moved in covered equipment and that it does not leak.  The containers are moved to the rail yard in Gladstone where the customer takes them for delivery based on its business.”

The people of Gladstone said they’ve even had the Envirnomental Protection Agency look into the matter, and said that the EPA agrees—it stinks, but that’s about as far as it goes.

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