Saturday, June 12, 2004

Neighbors: Trains stink up yards

The Associated Press

FOSTORIA, Ohio - People who live alongside rail tracks where trains bound for a landfill sit for hours say the smell from the debris onboard is unbearable.

"The landfill says it's construction debris, but in the back of our yard, you can smell it," Judy Brown said. "It smells like trash."

Local leaders say they are working with the railroad to solve the problem in this northwest Ohio town.

Mayor John Davoli said he visited the site and saw debris-filled railcars stopped behind the Browns' yard, and noticed "a damp, musty smell."

The mayor said he spoke to Dave Miller, the landfill's superintendent, who told him only construction debris is being moved by rail to the dump.

The railroad maintains it is working to address the problem.

"We are trying to be sensitive to the neighbors' concerns, and the yardmaster is doing the best job that he can of keeping the cars at the opposite side of the yard when he can," said CSX spokeswoman Jane Covington.

Joseph Schock, a Seneca County commissioner, said the landfill is building a track at the site to hold the cars until they are ready to be dumped.

"I have a problem if they're going to be parking cars full of garbage behind people's homes," he said.

Brown and her husband, Dan, said they have seen up to 35 cars at a time parked behind their home, loaded with debris. Sometimes the cars sit for hours, even days.

"I don't think a residential neighborhood is the place to be storing railcars full of whatever they want to call it," she said.

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