Why We Did the Story - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Why We Did the Story

"NewsChannel 5 Investigates" raised questions about security at Metro's wastewater treatment plant after careful consideration.

Among the considerations:

1.  Homeland security experts told us that we were not revealing any new vulnerabilities to the terrorists.  In fact, federal authorities have warned for years that al-Qaeda has considered just this sort of attack.

2.  Metro officials have made no effort to disguise the location of the chlorine facility.  It is well-marked and positioned along a public street.  There is no building designed to shield it from public view, nor safety devices to minimize any chlorine release into the air.

3.  We gave Metro Water officials the opportunity to take additional security measures, if needed.  They stated that they felt none were needed.

4.  Experts say the city of Nashville has other, less-dangerous options to chlorine.  Because of the public's lack of knowledge of the issue, there has been no debate on the subject.

We live in this community, as do our families.  Our commitment remains to look out for our viewers' safety and security, which sometimes means talking about difficult issues that some would rather not be discussed.

Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter


Background:

U.S. Homeland Security:
Al-Qaeda "targeting chemical, hazardous materials facilities" (November 2003)
"National Planning Scenarios" (April 2005)
U.S. Government Accountability Office:
"Securing Wastewater Facilities " (March 2006)
"Wastewater Facilities: Experts' Views" (January 2005)
Center for American Progress:
"Preventing Toxic Terrorism" (April 2006)
U.S. PIRG:
"Protecting Our Hometowns" (March 2002)

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