Project New Ground is poised to make Jacksonville a cleaner, more beautiful city. But to understand why the project is necessary, it's important to know a bit of background information.
Beginning in the early twentieth century, Jacksonville burned its solid waste in incinerators. At the time, this was a common practice all over the country, and it was considered a safe solution to the question of what to do with a city's trash. Burning was widely seen as a clean, sanitary way to dispose of waste.
The ash that was produced by burning the waste was deposited in several locations at and near the incinerator sites. At the time, it was believed to be beneficial. Mixed with sand, it was used by area residents to repair potholes and to fill in low-lying residential areas. In fact, many people actively sought the ash because it was thought to be good for gardening.
In the 1960s, the city stopped burning solid waste, as people became more knowledgeable and more sensitive to environmental concerns.
Today, we understand that the ash created years ago may pose potential health concerns to people who live in and around the disposal sites, which is why the city is cleaning it up through Project New Ground.
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