A North Mobile County wastewater treatment provider has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for inadvertently connecting a sewer line to a potable water line last year.
According to a consent order filed yesterday, ADEM received notification from Lemoyne Water System that on July 30, residents in the area of Old Highway 43 began to complain of a “foul odor in their drinking water.” An investigation later revealed that a contractor for Integra Water Creola LLC tied a sewer line into the Lemoyne water pipe on July 22, using a previously dormant sewer tap that was mistakenly installed in 2012.
Lemoyne said an estimated 71 customers were affected, and the connection was removed the day it was discovered on Aug. 6. The water lines were also flushed.
“The permittee failed to implement adequate measures to inspect the existing 2012 cross contamination,” the order reads. “The permittee indicated that a formal policy of physically inspecting each tap was implemented in 2013. However, the permittee failed to inspect the existing 2012 tap before authorizing the July 22, 2020 connection.”
For it’s part, Integra said the contractor, Cardinal Contracting, never provided evidence it called 811 to identify underground utilities before beginning the work. Further, it claims Lemoyne erred by not informing Integra of the odor until the cross-connection was discovered Aug. 6.
“By Lemoyne Water System not alerting Integra Water about the complaints, or the area of the system where the complaints were originating for a period of eight days … Integra Water was effectively excluded from participating in investigating the cause of the complaints,” Integra contends. “Earlier communication by the Lemoyne Water system with Integra Water as a part of Lemoyne’s Cross-Connection Policy would have revealed to Integra the issue of complaints.”
ADEM noted the incident violated the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act and the Alabama Safe Water Drinking Act and initially leveled Integra a fine of $160,000. But because the order is a “negotiated settlement,” ADEM “compromised the amount of the penalty the Department believes is warranted in this matter in the spirit of cooperation and desire to resolve this matter amicably, without incurring the unwarranted expense of litigation.”
Integra consent order
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