City of Mobile increasing storm water cleanup

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Mobile (WALA)- Tackling litter in Mobile’s water ways has been an ongoing problem. After settling with ADEM, the city is on the hook for a six figure fine and revamping the storm water management policy. That new storm water management plan passed this week by the council. It’s part of a three pronged plan that includes last months litter ordinance and a forthcoming derelict properties ordinance. All this to clean up Mobile’s litter clogged waterways.

Fishing on Bolton Branch Creek

“If they would and stop throwing stuff in there it would be nice. It would be nice. “

Solomon Smallwood spends many a day casting a line into Bolton Branch Creek. Every bit of garbage he sees floating by eventually ends up in Dog River.

“As the water rises and falls it comes down with the water. It’s got to come from somewhere,” Smallwood said.

Tackling the Problem

Dianne Irby, the City’s Executive Director of Planning and Development said, “If we can go upstream, so to speak, can stop things at their source whether it’s litter being thrown on the ground then it’s not going to be swept up in major rains like we had earlier today. “

Irby told us the litter ordinance passed last month was the first step to cleaning local waters. The fine for littering will be $250 plus court costs.

“It’s going to be important for people to know that they’ll be fined for that kind of littering and we’ll be much more proactive on that not just responding but looking at neighborhoods that really need to be cleaned up,” Irby said.

Storm Water Management Plan Passed

The second step, a comprehensive storm water management plan was passed this week, something the city was required to do after settling a lawsuit with ADEM earlier this year.

” It shows in good faith that we are working very progressively and communicating with ADEM themselves and with the environmental groups here locally and with citizens and with industry,” Irby said.

The storm water plan essentially tightens the rules on developers and increases monitoring of building sites. Irby told us the new policy lays out the specifics so that best management practices are followed.

“I think it’s a very good start for us doing everything we can to keep the water clean,” she said.

Litter Traps? Litter Boats?

As far as hardware for cleaning water ways the city’s only litter trap is on Eslava creek. Another litter trap is scheduled to be placed on Montlimar creek next year. The city is also researching litter boats that could be deployed to do spot cleaning.

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