- Residents living near the Arrowhead Landfill — Alabama's largest waste site, located in Uniontown— have reported having alleged health problems, quality-of-life issues, and drastic declines in property values since the landfill opened in 2007.
- Citizens of Uniontown filed a formal complaint, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to investigate last year. The complaint stems from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination by entities that receive federal funding. The population of Uniontown is 88% African American and the median household income is $13,800.
- The probe centers on the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's approval of the landfill's operation permits in 2011 and an expansion of the facility in 2012.
The issue of civil rights violations surrounding landfills has come up before in Alabama, most recently at the Stone's Throw Landfill in Tallassee, AL.
"If this had been a rich, white neighborhood, the landfill would never have gotten here," Uniontown resident Esther Calhoun, president of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, told NBC News. "They put it here because we're a poor, black community. They knew we couldn't fight back."
Lance LeFleur, the head of ADEM, told NBC that the agency only approved the landfill's design, while the Perry County Commission chose the site. LeFleur said ADEM has performed numerous inspections of the site and never issued a notice of violations to landfill owner Green Group Holdings.
Residents believe they deserve a thorough investigation of their complaint, and will keep fighting until they get one.