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

MAWSS declines takeover of Prichard system; Prichard’s “Five-Point Plan”

The Mobile Area Water and Sewer System announced Sept. 2 it will not take control of the Prichard Water Works and Sewer Board, despite a voter referendum approved in June which allowed MAWSS to assume the Prichard system’s assets. After a special-called executive session Sept. 2, MAWSS spokeswoman Barbara Shaw cited a recently approved $32.8 million third-party management contract, financial shortfalls and regulatory deficiencies as some of the reasons MAWSS could not take over the Prichard system. “It is with much regret we announce today that the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System cannot take over the Prichard Water...

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Millions in oil royalties funding sewer projects in Mobile County

More than 700 residents in the southern part of Mobile County will have the option to tie in to a new sewer system free of charge through the second round of the $250 million Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). Though the federal government sponsors the program, grant consultant Sara W. Kindt said the $58 million coming to Alabama isn’t the taxpayers’ money per se, but rather royalties paid in by oil and gas companies operating in federal waters. Alabama joins Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Alaska and Texas, which will all receive money through CIAP this year. “The program is exclusively...

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COVER STORY: Former MAWSS commissioners and directors discuss the growing role of the Board in the utility’s daily operations

Leevones Fisher didn’t know the difference between a sewer drain and a storm drain when her six-year term as a commissioner on the board of the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System began in 2008. “Anybody can serve on the board because you’re representing the people,” Fisher said. “I don’t think you have to go to college to serve. It was interesting information. It was educational.” Fisher said she quickly learned about the system, spending 10 to 20 hours a week working for MAWSS. “It’s like a part-time job,” she said. “I know for a fact I spent 52...

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Under threat of takeover, Prichard defends water system

A constitutional amendment on a countywide ballot June 3 could either provide better service, more efficiency and much-needed economic development to water and sewer customers in the city of Prichard, or lead to the financial ruin and possible insolvency of a precarious, 20,000-plus resident municipality on Mobile’s front doorstep, depending upon who you talk to. As a referendum looms next week to transfer the assets of the city’s Water Works and Sewer Board to the much larger Mobile Area Water and Sewer Service, Prichard Mayor Troy Ephraim is on the offensive, warning the vote is all or nothing for...

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