Folks in tiny Copperhill, Tenn., aren't sure which was worse: the bankruptcy or the flood. Either way, the community of 450 on the Tennessee-Georgia line is in deep trouble.
For years, miners extracted ore from the Tennessee hills to make sulfuric acid. A good bit of the TNT used during World War II was made with sulfuric acid from Copperhill.
But by 1982, there was only one factory left, and tiny Copperhill was stuck with payments on a large sewage treatment plant, enough to handle 1 million gallons of waste a day. The problem: Copperhill, which only has 250 water customers, didn't have the money to pay off its construction loan, according to town Councilman Keith Ballew. The now-closed factory was to have been the primary user.