Oil spill remains in Nashville park weeks after flood

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BELLEVUE, Tenn. (WKRN) – More than three weeks after deadly flash flooding in Nashville, some streets in Bellevue are still lined with piles of debris collected by volunteers. While the mess is an eyesore, the real trouble is the toxins seeping into the ground.

Resident Carol Kassas is just one of many in the area who calls the Harpeth River Greenway, along Old Harding Pike, an oasis.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

“It’s a beautiful green area. There’s meadows. There’s the river,” Kassas said.

But recently, her relaxing daily stroll involves warnings for her fellow park goers of the dangers left by the March flash flood.

“Are you getting ready to fish?” Kassas yelled to a man by the river. “I just want to warn you to catch and release because there’s toxic spill in the water.”

As Kassas walked with News 2’s Alex Denis she pointed and said, “That’s where I pulled the pesticide and the copper sulfate.”

That is not far from where she discovered a drum filled with oil. “Someone I feel, probably trying to do a good deed, tried to pull that oil drum out and you can see the left over oil damage here,” Kassas said.

She, along with countless volunteers, continue to remove debris. Some of the trash still stuck in tree limbs. But the toxic matter is a danger she can’t tackle alone. Kassas started calling and emailing.

“Metro parks does not cover the water, so I reached out to other agencies.”

The TN Department of Environment & Conservation responded in part: “Stream cleanup is normally coordinated by volunteer groups.”

Alex Denis asked an employee of parks and recreation, “Who will come pick up all this along the roadway?” The employee responded, “I don’t know if Public Works will come.”



Finally,  Kassas’ persistence paid off. The Nashville Pollution Elimination Discharge System is aware of the spill. But still, no clean up.

Denis made a call. “I just wanted to confirm that yes, there will be a hazmat crew out there. And, do you have a timeline on that?” “It’s true. There’s a hazmat team scheduled to come out. I do not know a tentative time. What I can do is send another email and see if they have any more information,” the Public Works employee suggested.

In the meantime, Kassas is encouraged and hopeful she and her community can enjoy the park safely very soon.

“Things are really moving forward, and that’s what we want.”

News 2 will continue to call about this issues.

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