Stop Dumping Trash and Toxic Waste Near Black Community

Target: Mayor Bob Rial of Dickson County

Goal: Stop racist practice of placing all trash and toxic waste sites near black communities

Eno Road is a historically black community in Dickson County, Tennessee. Though less than 5% of the entire population in Dickson County is black, it has placed all of its garbage dumps, landfills, toxic waste sites, and transfer stations right next to this black community. Demand Dickson County officials to stop these racist practices and to evenly distribute waste sites throughout the region.

Dickson County’s history of racist practices came to light with a civil rights lawsuit filed by Sheila Holt-Orsted and her family, who are African-American. It was shown that the toxic industrial cancer-causing chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), had been dumped for years into a landfill that poisoned the water and soil in the black Eno Road community. Harry Holt had developed prostate cancer and later died. His daughter Sheila Holt-Orsted got breast cancer twice. Three of Ms. Holt-Orsted’s cousins, an aunt, and uncle all got cancer. In fact, cancer affected most in the neighborhood that the Holts grew up in. Tragically, racism played a part in their poisoning because all of the county’s toxic waste sites, garbage dumps, landfills, etc. are located right next to the predominantly black community.

Continuing to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Dickson County’s racist motives were its two different letters distributed to residents. Letters sent to white residents informed them not to drink the well water because of the TCE contamination. Letters sent to black residents, however, were told that the water was safe to drink. And residents in the largely white community were switched over to the county’s main water supply so that they wouldn’t be exposed, while the black community was left to drink and use the TCE- contaminated water supply.

It is an outrage that black neighborhoods have been singled out for decades as dumping grounds for trash and toxic waste. Dickson County officials should change this current setup immediately. Please sign the petition below, urging Dickson County to evenly distribute waste sites fairly throughout the county so that not one particular race is forced to live next to the entire county’s trash.


Dear Mayor Bob Rial,

Dickson County’s recent environmental racism scandal was a black eye on Dickson County. Targeting black communities to house all of the county’s toxic waste and trash is deplorable and inhumane. Please start moving some of these sites to other areas, spreading them more evenly throughout the county.

African-Americans make up only 4.5% of Dickson County’s population, yet all of the garbage dumps, landfills, toxic waste sites, and transfer stations are located right next to Eno Road community, a predominantly black neighborhood. To solely target a black neighborhood’s surrounding area as your county’s primary location for dumping garbage and toxic waste is racist and offensive. Please respect and value all of your citizens regardless of race or color and enact some new policies to change or transfer the locations of some of these waste sites. Thank you for your time.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Flickr viaVectorPortal

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51 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
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