Council members claim city administration is hiding PFAS testing results from the public

After council members found out about a secret meeting that happened a year ago, they have several questions
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 6:22 PM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - PFAS chemicals in Decatur. It’s not the first time you’re hearing this.

However, it’s the first time Decatur City Council members are hearing about a secret meeting between Decatur Utilities and the city’s mayor where PFAS test results were discussed.

Council president Paige Bibbee got a text message Tuesday from a concerned resident about this meeting.

“I was told now the city has tested twice at Flint Creek at Point Mallard two weeks before the Dragon Boat Races. I responded that ‘wow that is news to me and I didn’t have any awareness of that’, so that to me is an essential to get to Herman," Bibbee explained.

The council president took the information to city attorney Herman Marks Wednesday.

A statement released by the Mayor’s office Thursday confirms there was testing done, and more than once.

You can view that whole statement here:

In part, the Mayor says that second testing was done in early May of 2019. The second set of samples in the Flint Creek confirmed the presence of PFOA and PFOS in Flint Creek in the vicinity of Point Mallard Park.

“I really with that our council president or pro temp to be in the meeting, because for them to not involve any of the council it’s kind of a red flag. And I don’t know any of the results of the testing," Council Member Kristi Hill said.

Council members Charles Kirby, Billy Jackson and Chuck Ard all say they all found out about this meeting today.

They also had no idea the city had done additional testing last year.

“I’m outraged that I wasn’t informed and that the public wasn’t informed. If you don’t tell the public that you should or shouldn’t be in the water, why would you not tell them,” Kirby said.

Councilman Jackson says he has several frustrations about this information.

“I’m disappointed we did not know, but having just been made aware of this yesterday I’m just trying to process what I’m hearing,” Councilman Ard explained.

The mayor’s office will still not release the actual numbered results of the PFAS tests.

Mayor Bowling did say 3M also took tests in Flint Creek near Point Mallard Park. He says their results lined up with the test the city did.

I also reached out to Decatur Utilities, officials there tell me, DU officials were informed that the city said they would handle this matter, and any questions should be directed to the city.

We’re continuing to ask questions and find out more answers.

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