BCHD: 1M gallons of sewage spilled

 There were at least three different areas in Robertsdale that overflowed with sewage Monday night, April 14, and Tuesday afternoon, April 15.

One sewage main on College Street even continued to overflow into Rock Creek through the night on Tuesday.

Health officials said up to some 1 million gallons of sewage could have spilled into Rock Creek.

That would be equal to 33 train cars full of sewage dumping into the creek.

Residents living near Rock Creek say they are fed up with the sewage.

“I was telling my daughter, well it’s no longer Rock Creek, we know what it’s called now, it has a new name, and you can guess what it is,” said Lorna Jansen.

Jansen has lived near Rock Creek for some 30 years, she says a spill happens nearly every time there’s a heavy rainfall.

“It’s just awful, and it doesn’t have to be as much rain as it was yesterday, it can be two inches of rain,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Baldwin County Health Department said residents living in those sensitive areas around Robertsdale should be used to this by now, and should be aware of the precautions necessary.

“It does seem to be the same sites over and over again, which in one sense that’s good, because the people around there, this shouldn’t be big news to them, they can almost anticipate this, with the rainfall we have,” said David Legett with the Baldwin County Health Department.

Mayor Charles Murphy told FOX10 News the city is planning to fix some of the sewage problems this summer.

Mayor Murphy said they’ll even be bringing student engineers in to help design ways to fix the problem.

“So we basically went in to that basin and we videoed the collection lines that were feeding in to it, and we found some major breaks,” he said.

So, city workers are going to line the pipes to seal those leaks, but that comes with a big price tag.

“When you’re talking about lining basically a mile-long line, you’re talking somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $160,000,” said Mayor Murphy.

Those plans will be funded both by city sales tax and other city-generated revenue, as well as with federal grant money, according to the Mayor.

But, some residents, like Lorna Jansen, are not convinced the city is doing enough.

“They say they’re going to do things, and you see in the newspaper where they get grants, or apply for grants, to help with the sewage problems, but they seem to focus the money they do get, elsewhere,” she said.

Baldwin County Health Officials said sewage also spilled out of a manhole in to Silver Creek, and out of second location on College Street in to Rock Creek.

The Baldwin County Health Department reminded folks who may use the waterways to be careful.

If you come in to contact: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, don’t swim in a creek that’s been affected,  don’t fish in the creek that’s been affected, and if you do, cook the fish thoroughly.

Legett said with the large amount of rainfall Monday night, April 14, the spill in any area around the city is not surprising.

“We’re not surprised, you know with the extraordinarily heavy rains, I heard about 7 inches localized on the Eastern Shore, and it obviously overwhelmed the system and this is what we get,” he said.


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