Smell Ya Later: “Poop Train” from New York is Clogged in Small Town Alabama

If New Jersey is the, “Armpit of America,” I wonder what body part should be assigned to Alabama.

Specifically, the town of Parrish, population 982, which currently doubles as a small, unassuming rural town and the dumping ground for nearly 10 million pounds of poo. Yes, poo. As in human excrement. Dingleberries. Dookie. Dung. Butt truffles. Caca. And this isn’t just any crap – it’s certified New York, baby. (technically NYC, but what the heck, we’ll take collective ownership of this olfactory offense against humanity). 

A “poop train” with millions of pounds of Number 2, carted in from the Empire State, has been stuck in the rural Alabama town for months now, in regulatory purgatory, (poogatory?), and no one knows when it will leave the station. All aboard!?

Right off the rip, this kinda reminds me of the railroad oil tanker cars that are sometimes stalled in an infinite dotted line on the train tracks for hours/days at a time in between I-787 and the Hudson River in Albany; people go absolutely berserk over the status of that arrangement and its potential hazards, so I can’t imagine the full blown H.A.M.-effect that would ripple through the Capital city if those tankers were carrying some of that Mississippi mud instead. I, for one, wouldn’t stand for it.

According to the Associated Press, residents describe the stench wafting through town as more of a, “rotting carcass smell with a whiff of human waste,” because of how it was treated. The town’s Mayor has even given her two cents on the scents, pointing out that the smellis unbearable, especially ripe right around dusk, after the atmosphere has had some time to marinate.

“Oh my goodness, it’s just a nightmare here,” she said. “It smells like rotting corpses, or carcasses. It smells like death.”

Geez, it sounds like a deleted scene from one of the Saw or Final Destination installments: death by “poop train,” or maybe a darker version of Polar Express, but wait, it gets worse.

To add insult to injury, the turd train is stuck in a rail yard next to a softball field, so that means residents can’t sit outside, kids are stuck indoors, and the town is even considering rescheduling the little league games. Can you imagine having to walk your dog in that stinky air? Lest we forget, this is Alabama we’re talking about, guys, so the threat of the summer heat hasn’t even started (not that we would know anything about warmth or sunlight lately in Upstate NY, but use your imagination).

So why are we (ahem, NYC) sending poo down south? Plain and simple, New York just doesn’t have the space for the its own biowaste, and federal law bans the state from dumping it in the Atlantic Ocean (whew!), so since early 2017, it’s been sent by Choo Choo Train down to Alabama, where the land is inexpensive and zoning laws are lax, destined for the Big Sky Environmental landfill, roughly 20 miles east of Parrish. 

According to the AP, it’s common for Northern states to ship their waste to rural areas in the South, and landfills on inexpensive land can make good money from the practice. An Alabama attorney general once described one of Alabama’s landfills as “America’s biggest industrial pay toilet.” Sounds like the perfect storm for big business (in this case, landfill operators) to take advantage of rural/poor communities. 

The train is stuck in Parrish because another town nearby, that had been suffering the same stinky fate, literally decided to pull out all the stops to prevent the Midnight Express from its doodie delivery.

Parrish can’t take to the courts for a resolution, because a lawsuit could keep the poop train in town until it is settled, so instead, Parrish will consider creating zoning laws to shield itself from a future shit storm. In the meantime, the current poop train menace remains, and no one knows for sure when it will leave — maybe when it wins a seat in Congress? 

Look, I think this really stinks for the poor little town and citizens of Parrish, and I hope lawmakers can reach some sort of resolution sooner than later, while simultaneously addressing this larger, “elephant-in-the-living-room,” human waste-environmental sitch, but I can’t help but wonder if Outkast had rural Alabama in mind when they wrote, “Roses,” — *ahem* to quote this fine metaphor: “I know you like to think your sh*t don’t stink, but lean a little bit closer see that roses really smell like poo-poo-oo…”



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Author: Katie

Daring and cheerful. An adventure waiting to happen. Mountain lover, explorer, storyteller, Oxford comma-enthusiast, hard cider aficionado.

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