Partially treated sewage continues to spill near Eutaw

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT
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EUTAW, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re asking more questions about a sewage spill in west Alabama first reported last week that’s still not cleaned up.

The failed pump is spewing 150 gallons a minute, which equates to around 200,000 gallons per day.

The so-called ‘lift’ station is located on Greene County Road 131 and you’d never realize there was a major leak unless you walked up on it. There is clearly a problem, a strong flow pouring into a tributary of White Creek which ultimately empties into the Black Warrior River a little more than 4 miles away.

This is troubling to people like Nelson Brooke, a member of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper organization.

“The city of Eutaw has a wastewater system that’s in shambles, not properly operated or maintained, and when you have a problem like that there will be mishaps,” said Brooke.

Eutaw spokesman Corey Martin says town leaders are aware of the problem, and the stuff that’s spilling is partially treated, but acknowledges it’s got to be fixed.

“It’s partially treated by time and distance, it’s all pressure sewer and by the time it gets to that point it’s already 15 to 20 days detention time, it’s already partially treated,” said Martin.

ADEM has said it’s an electrical issue that impacted one of the valves. Still, unclear at this point what the game-plan is to fix it and how long it’ll take.

“The money to fix it correctly we just don’t have available from all the FEMA money we’re waiting to be reimbursed from the tornadoes,” said Martin.

It’s worth pointing out Eutaw was awarded a $5 million grant a few months ago to prevent this very thing. But there are no quick fixes when it comes to a very old sewer system.

“It is on the very high to-do list,” said Martin.

“That means they’re spilling raw, untreated nasty stuff into local waterways and that’s a big no-no,” said Brooke.

At this point, there does not appear to be any health threats to people.

“A lot of it rainwater and storm water made it to that point, so it’s heavily diluted, it’s had 30 days of hold time,” said Martin.

Eutaw City Hall had the following statement:

“We are working with ADEM to resolve these issues, this is one of the main reasons we need to address our aging infrastructure and one of the driving factors in applying for the SRF funding. It is further evidence that the Blackbelt had been long neglected in infrastructure funding. We are greatly appreciative of congresswoman Terri Sewell and everyone at ADEM who has assisted us with obtaining necessary funding.”

Corey Martin says he estimates it will take about $300,000 to fix it which will likely come from the $5 million grant the town was awarded.

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