ADEM: Sewage problems repaired

Published 12:40 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

UNIONTOWN — City officials in Uniontown have initiated two separate efforts in response to last month’s sewage releases that affected numerous creeks in the area.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management spokesman Scott Hughes said the city has made repairs to a malfunctioning lift station that had caused some of the sanitary sewer overflow.

The overflow was running into Cottonwood Creek, which ultimately went into Prairie Creek and the Black Warrior River, Hughes said.

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“Repairs to that lift station have been made and there are no unpermitted discharges at that area,” he said.

Hughes said the other area where Uniontown was having problems was with their spray field.

“They were having unpermitted discharges from the spray field into Freetown Creek,” he said. “They have completed repairs and are about to initiate some sanitation efforts on the ground in that area, utilizing lime, to disinfect some of the areas that were containing raw sewage.”

Late last month, ADEM announced that scientists within the agency had mobilized to observe and document visual impacts to water quality in both Freetown Creek and Chilatchee Creek, located on Alabama Highway 66, after receiving complaints about discolored, foul-smelling water.

In the time since those complaints were filed, Hughes said ADEM has been in touch with Uniontown on a daily basis.

“We’ve got folks out of our Birmingham office that are on the scene over there on a regular basis,” Hughes said. “We are providing a lot of oversight to their efforts to address the issue.”

Looking ahead, Hughes said the city is trying to work out some financial issues to continue to be able to remedy the situation and prevent it from reoccurring.

“[Uniontown is looking] to make some more upgrades and enhance the overall operational capacity of the system itself,” Hughes said. “That really is a long-term solution to the problem they’re having.”

Uniontown Mayor Jamaal Hunter was unable to be reached for comment about the city’s response to the overflow.