NAACP Hold Rally; Claims Toxic Well Poisoned Black Families
DICKSON, Tenn.- Their story has been featured across the country, and for years, the family has claimed poisons from a local landfill have been causing deadly diseases, including cancer.
Saturday, the NAACP is rallying behind them in a fight they say is really for all Americans.
"When this problem is healing for Holt family, it is also healing for Dickson County," said supporter Jerry Jerkins.
Saturday's event brought awareness to what the NAACP and a Dickson family call "environmental racism."
For years, the Holt family says they were exposed to toxic water because of a nearby landfill. They believe studies have proven a chemical that can cause cancer was leaking into the neighbors' well water supply system.
For years Sheila Holt-Orsted says her family and others on Eno Road were being exposed to a toxic chemical that leaked into their well water system.
"Our property line is 54 feet from where they dumped it," said Holt, Orsted.
The Holt family's property line is about 54 feet from the landfill. Because of the close proximity, they claim several members of their family were diagnosed with cancer, and some even died. They also believe there is proof their white neighbors were told not to drink the water, while they were told it was safe to drink. Now, the whole family is still involved in a disagreement with the city and county over this controversy.
"Our documents were used in a settlement to the county and city to receive money when suing the company. They received money from the company saying that our wells were contaminated, but they're saying they haven't done anything to our well. They're not responsible," said family member Sheila Holt-Orsted.
Sheila says owners of this land-fill across the street from her childhood home knowingly allowed black families to bathe, drink and cook in the water with the toxin Tri Chloro Ethylene in it.
Dr. Robert Bullard is a professor at Clark Atlanta University and is an expert on Environmental Justice. He says on the scale from 1 to 10, the Dickson case is a 10. He says the reason is paper work that proves how careless that company, city, and county were in making black families aware of the problem.
It's why the NAACP, the Holt family and supporters want people to know the fight is not over. The families are now on a city water supply system and no longer using water from the well.