Wastewater treatment

More than 23 million gallons of sewage has spilled in the Mobile-Baldwin county area this year, according to Mobile Baykeeper. In a special series of reports, Lagniappe is exploring why Mobile is struggling with an aging sewer and stormwater infrastructure and how Baldwin County is racing to keep up with explosive population growth.

Wastewater treatment

People living outside Fairhope take advantage of city services, mayor says

Fairhope Karin Wilson’s State of the City presentation Tuesday evening was more of a Part One. Saying she’s still working on strategies and priorities for the future and seeking feedback from others, Wilson focused on “where we’ve come from,” and “where we are.” “Where we’re going” will be the subject of a similar event in June, she said. After opening with some of the history of Fairhope dating back to 1870, Wilson said she’s looking at the number of people who live outside Fairhope’s city limits but take advantage of its amenities that are provided through the tax dollars...

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Baldwin County Sewer Service serves growth markets

Until they stink, overflow or back up, sewers are easy to ignore. Let someone see it or smell it, though, and everyone wants their sewers fixed yesterday. In a fast-growing place like Baldwin County, money, politics and the environment can also influence public interest in sewer service. It may not be the first thing a future homeowner thinks about when looking at a house or talking to a builder, but the price of a tap fee or the pros and cons of sewers versus septic tanks is probably going to come up sooner or later. When a city runs...

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Fish River residents claim they weren’t notified of proposed sewer line

Down along Fish River, residents made it clear the other night they don’t want a sewer line running under it. “We’re here tonight because we were damn well upset,” said Dick Sute, a retired vice president of Volkert Inc. and co-organizer of what was intended to be an informal meeting of residents to discuss the proposed sewer line. When elected officials and representatives of Baldwin County Sewer Service turned up March 15, they got an earful from about 50 people who crowded into the Marlow Fish River fire station. As happened about 15 years ago, the interests of developers, landowners, private business and public government are again clashing over a quickly growing area of Baldwin County. On the west side of Fish River, off Ferry Road near County Road 32, the privately run BCSS serves 96 customers who are linked into a Fairhope city sewer line. On the east side, off the Honey Road boat launch, BCSS serves customers with lines that run to its Malbis wastewater treatment plant. As a result of litigation dating to 2002, BCSS and Fairhope agreed the west side customers could be served by BCSS lines through Fairhope’s wastewater treatment for 10 years, until the agreement expires on July 12 of this year. The agreement could have been extended, but in December Fairhope notified BCSS it would shut off the service and both parties...

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Environmentalists push for better notification of sewage spills

Mobile Baykeeper has joined eight conservation groups across the state in a petition urging Alabama’s Environmental Management Commission to clarify and expand the way the residents are notified about sewage spills and overflows. Along with Baykeeper, the petition was submitted by the Alabama Rivers Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, Coosa Riverkeeper, Friends of Hurricane Creek, Little River Waterkeeper and Tennessee Riverkeeper. The push for a better notification system follows a year that saw several incidents related to sewage overflow, including one in Northport that resulted in 4 million gallons of sewage flowing into the Black Warrior...

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Sewer service expansion a ‘24-year saga’

By Eric Mann For years, residents in some of Daphne’s older neighborhoods have asked the city to extend access to its sanitary sewer system so they can disconnect from potentially hazardous septic tanks. Now residents in the city’s largest pocket of non-sewered homes will have the chance to connect to the system. The city will spend approximately $1.6 million to complete the Whispering Pines sewer project, which will extend sewer service to 96 residents along and near Whispering Pines Road east of U.S. 98 and west of Baldwin County Road 13 in Daphne. To date, the city has spent $97,841 for design engineering services and budgeted $1.38 million in the 2016 fiscal year for the project’s construction, but an additional $450,000 recently approved by the Daphne City Council will help break ground on the project. “This goes back to Mayor [Bailey] Yelding, who had this great idea to make sure everyone in the city had access to sewer service,” Dane Haygood said. “At that time we had seven areas in the city without a connection to the city’s sewer system. We are down to six now, and the Whispering Pines project will get us down to five.” In 2011, the city connected homes along Baldwin County Highway 64 from U.S. 98 to Pollard Road to the sewer system. Haygood said the Whispering Pines project will take up the bulk...

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Utilities, environmental groups discuss recent sewer overflows

An extremely high number of sanitary sewer overflows were reported in Mobile and Baldwin counties during the last week of December. While historically significant rainfall can be blamed for most of the issues, a local environmental watchdog organization said more has to be done to prevent future problems in one of the country’s rainiest areas. Between the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System and several systems in Baldwin County, the area suffered more than 120 instances of untreated sewage overflowing into local waterways. The overflows sparked a number of recreation and consumption warnings from local and state health agencies. Mobile Baykeeper reported 120 different sanitary sewer overflows along the MAWSS infrastructure from Dec. 22 to Dec. 30. One of the largest spills during that time saw 117,000 gallons flow into Halls Mill Creek. On Dec. 24, more than 334,000 gallons of untreated sewage flowed into Three Mile Creek in two different locations. MAWSS spokeswoman Barbara Shaw blamed all of the 110 reported overflows during that week on heavy rainfall. According to a report covering the period Dec. 21-25, MAWSS service areas saw between 6 inches and nearly 8 inches of rain. The largest 24-hour volume during that time was the 5.5 inches that fell on Trimmier Park.   “A lot depends on the intensity and amount of rainfall,” Shaw said. When it rains like it did in late December,...

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Prichard water management in limbo

It has been a rocky couple of days for the Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board (PWWSB), which was in tedious negotiations with a contractor over continued management operations. The talks broke down with a 3-2 vote of the board Monday, Aug. 31, to cancel Severn Trent Services’ (STS) $400,000-per-month contract. STS gave control of the system to the board, effective 5 p.m. the same day. Negotiations began in May when STS gave notice of default and the board replied with a notice it wanted to terminate the contract. That began a 45-day discussion period, which was extended twice....

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Daphne looks to extend sewer service

With a unanimous vote, the city of Daphne took steps Monday to provide public sewer service to approximately 96 homes in the Whispering Pines community. The council approved a resolution to allow Mayor Dane Haygood to apply for a $450,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Approximately 96 homes in the Whispering Pines community are part of a 200-home group that does not have access to Daphne’s public sewer system. Most of the homes are in low-to-moderate-income areas. “We have...

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