A Big Stink on the Pigeon

Industrial wastes spark a war between two states

From its source on North Carolina's Black Mountain to the town of Canton, 22 miles away, the Pigeon River is a clean and lovely stream, lively with trout and tourists. By the time it leaves Canton (pop. 5,000), flowing toward and finally into Cocke County, Tenn., 50 miles away, the Pigeon has been transmogrified into a sludgy mess that looks like oily coffee and smells as bad as rotten eggs. The cause of this revolting change: industrial wastes that Champion International Corp. has been dumping into the Pigeon since the company opened a paper mill in Canton 80 years ago.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!