Company claims responsibility for flood debris in Whitsett Park

trash at whitsett park
Posted at 9:10 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 23:18:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Almost three weeks after widespread flooding in Middle Tennessee, a restaurant supply company claimed responsibility for the debris that filled a South Nashville park and creek.

Volunteers have been filling Whitsett Park and Mill Creek on a regular basis to help clean up trash left behind by floodwaters. After filling trash bags with napkins, plastic cups and silverware, many zeroed in on the nearby RJ Schinner Co. warehouse as the source of the problem. The facility is located on Space Park South Drive.

In an email sent to Metro Council Member Ginny Welsch, the Vice President of Operations for RJ Schinner admitted fault, and said the company is "committed to correcting the issue as soon as possible." Mike Wentland also said in the email he would be contacting companies in the area to see if they can assist with the cleanup.

"They have been very forthcoming and open," said Welsch. "This company has taken responsibility. I would like these professionals to get out there and do this cleanup in an efficient, organized way."

Welsch said due to the amount of trash she still has concerns about long-term environmental impacts and would like the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to take soil samples from the area.

Volunteers have played a huge role in the cleanup efforts thus far. Hands On Nashville has coordinated volunteering opportunities in the area. While Welsch said the progress has been impressive, she also encouraged volunteers to temporarily hold off on coming to the area for safety reasons.

"We have no idea what’s in the water," said Welsch. "We don’t know how contaminated it is, so there are things we need to do to make sure the cleanup is safe."

The insurance adjuster for RJ Schinner is expected to return from out of town next week, and Welsch said at that point, the company may have a better sense of when cleanup efforts will begin.