Uniontown residents set to speak at ADEM

Published 7:58pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UNIONTOWN —Perry County residents who have been living in the midst of an environmental emergency for several years will finally have their voices heard by the states’ ruling body on such issues.

Adam Johnston, Alliance Coordinator with the Alabama Rivers Alliance, has spent the last 16 months working with the residents of Uniontown to raise awareness to the issues of leakage surrounding a waste-water spray field in the city, and said that a number of those residents are preparing to take their stories of plight all the way to Montgomery later this week.

“Residents of Uniontown are going to a Commissioner’s meeting of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management this Friday to show photos, tell their stories, air their grievances and ask why nothing else is being done right now,” Johnston said.

He said that Friday’s meeting would not be the first time the concerned residents were going to Montgomery.

“This will be the third Commissioner’s meeting the residents have attended, and we are hoping it will be the first time they can address the Commissioners directly,” Johnston said.

Jerome Hand, Public Relations Director with ADEM, said the residents will have a chance to address the Commission members as long as their comments don’t drift into an area the board is currently considering legal or administrative action.

“The Commssion does have judiciary powers over the meeting, so they can let the people speak unless it is about something the Commission is in the process of ruling on,” Hand said.

Johnston said the meeting comes at an important time as the city of Uniontown is in the process of constructing a new spray field, one that shares a similar design with the current field that has been leaking of an on for several years.

“I went back down last week and once again it is leaking around the clock,” Johnston said.

Benjamin Eaton, a Uniontown resident and member of the Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, will be addressing the Commission and said he is afraid what the new spray field — located less than a half mile from his home — would mean for both himself and his neighbors.

“I just want this Commission to understand the problems that we are facing out here in my home town,” Eaton said.

“This new spray field is being set up just like the old one, and if that’s the case, it’s going to work just as poorly as the old one.”

Friday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the Alabama Room of the ADEM Building, 1400 Coliseum Blvd in Montgomery.


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