Metro health officials are investigating an illegal dump site in north Nashville.
The garbage pile on 26th Avenue North has been there for months and the investigation began April 5.
It is not only disgusting, it may contain dangerous asbestos, a microscopic insulating material that health officials say can cause lung cancer and other breathing difficulties.
The mountain of debris is filled with discarded furniture, household trash and construction refuse.
Neighbors said that they have seen rats in the pile as big as cats.
“It's been tested. We should know early next week if there is asbestos in those building materials,” said Brian Todd, spokesman for the Metro Health Department.
Todd said there could be water contamination as well.
“This is something that should not be happening. This is what happens when you have an irresponsible property owner who lives clear across the country who clearly doesn't care about the property he owns right here in Nashville,” he said.
The ownership group is in California. They spoke to Nashville's News 2 Investigates and said that the property has gone through foreclosure and there are new owners now, eager to clean up the mess.
Officials blame the city for delays that include demolition red tape from the Metro codes department and now the health department's asbestos investigation could change everything.
Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke to the new owner.
“I am losing my mind. We are in dispute about the demolition of the building next door, and we have hired an attorney, and we are fighting Codes on the demo. We think they have a personal vendetta, and the inspectors are creating this whole mess. I wanted to clean the trash. We had people ready to clean the trash. We were there around April 5 or 6,” the owner said.
He continued, “This is not my trash. People come from outside the community and dump from all over. It is not me dumping. It's not the tenants dumping there. I caught a guy Easter Sunday, in the morning. I chased him to the street. I took his license plate number. I emailed it to Codes. And all I get is an answer like, ‘Call the police.'”
The Health Department said that the area is something to concerned about.
“We have to follow a legal process and if there is asbestos, it's not like we can just go and get some dump trucks and start loading it up, it has to be done in a way that is safe for the community and the people who are cleaning it up,” Todd explained.
Results of the asbestos test should be available next week.