Decatur sewage overflows continue while rain doesn’t let up

Residents say they’re disappointed in city officials who refuse to comment on this matter
Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 6:20 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Hundreds of gallons of sewage water is still pouring into the streets and ditches of Decatur.

Wednesday, we told you about the more than 800,000 gallons of untreated sewage water that already leaked.

“Another negative headline for Decatur," Decatur resident Paul Serwatka said.

Serwatka and his family moved to Decatur two years ago.

“We have four young kids, ages 5 to 10, one of the first things we did when we moved to Decatur was buy our family pass to Point Mallard. Our kids loved playing in the river," Serwatka explained.

After Serwatka saw reports about untreated sewage overflows and possible toxic chemicals released by companies in the river, things changed.

“Now we go to Point Mallard and have to tell the kids no playing in the river, go play in the pool on the water slides, but stay away from the river," Serwatka continued.

Tennessee Riverkeeper Founder David Whiteside says, there are precautions you should take if you come in contact with sewage water.

“Assume that if it’s raining, there’s a good chance you’re walking through untreated sewage. You need to think about tracking that back in your homes. We recommend taking your shoes off at the door," Whiteside said.

“If your pets get out and play in the mud or anything, make sure you don’t bring them back in the house and they don’t come in contact with your kids,” he continued.

Joe Holmes with Decatur Utilities sent out a warning to residents about sewage overflows.

I reached out to Decatur City Mayor Tab Bowling, who referred me back to Holmes.

Serwatka and other Decatur residents say they’re frustrated that they’re not hearing from the person they elected to represent them.

“More than a million gallons in the last year, I find it very disturbing that Mayor Bowling doesn’t know, or even more disturbing that maybe he does know and doesn’t want to tell what he does know to residents. I think that’s the biggest problem we face as Decatur residents," Serwatka said.

Right now, DU is in the process of replacing its clay pipes to try and alleviate, and eliminate the sewage overflow problem.

Holmes says, drinking water is not impacted by the overflows.

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