New Orleans landfill battle

July 12, 2006

NEW ORLEANS, May 8 (UPI) — Hundreds of Vietnamese-American families in New Orleans fear their neighborhood is about to be hit by Hurricane Katrina again — this time by its debris.

Some 7.2 million tons of hurricane debris needs to be dumped but the Chef Menteur landfill can only accept 2.6 million tons.

More than a thousand Vietnamese-American families live less than two miles from the edge of a new landfill, opened on April 26, and representatives told The New York Times they fear dumping the debris there will threaten their existence.

Environmental groups are also angry, accusing local and federal officials of ignoring regulations, comparing it to the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy in 1965, after which one dump became a Superfund site.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers are both working on the cleanup that Joel Waltzer, a lawyer representing landfill opponents, says includes “cleaning solutions, pesticides, fertilizers, bleach.”

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