Team effort to rid Knox County neighborhood of stench underway

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knox County (WVLT) Neighbors compare the odor to turpentine.

It's a stench that hovers over the Keller Bend neighborhood in southwest Knox County.

It's coming from a neighbor's illegal demolition landfill.

Officials met this afternoon to formulate a plan to eradicate the problem.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more.

Jamey Dobbs lives near the dump site on Tedford Drive and says, "I really can't imagine any kind of worse problem for a community than having their water and their air endangered."

Jamey and her neighbors know about those fears first-hand.

On December 28th families living near the site of the smoldering fire were evacuated due to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide the dump was generating.

She says at more than a thousand parts per million.

"Twelve-hundred parts per million. Anything over 50 parts per million is a dangerous level according to the EPA."

When officials first arrived on the scene almost two weeks ago, they described the scene as a mountain of material.

Bruce Wuethrich, the Knox County director of Engineering Public Works says, "as far as we know the only thing that is in there is brush and basically demolition material. We have no reason to believe there's any toxic materials in there."

Jamey continuities, "we're not going to sit by and let this continue and we want the fire, which is burning on-site, we want the fire to be put out. Permanently. And we want the site to be dealt with permanently."

Knox County Officials echo those thoughts of a permanent fix.

And during today's two hour meeting, they devised a two fold plan to meet that goal.

"One obviously we want the fire extinguished. And secondly we want any environmental potential environmental damage eradicated. I want to make sure we don't have any lingering problems out there."

And beginning Wednesday morning crews will begin the process.

Their start time will all depend on just what kind of weather the morning brings.

Jamey says, "we are very pleased with the county's response to this."

The immediate goal is to eradicate the site.

For the time being RM is monitoring the carbon monoxide levels


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