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Investigation underway for possible sewage leak into Shoal Creek

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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ST. FLORIAN, Ala. (WAFF) - A typically clear Lauderdale County creek is currently covered in a thick, green sludge.

People who live nearby believe a sewage leak may be to blame.

What’s in the water? That is the number one question that community members in St. Florian are asking.

Resident, Ralph Richey, said since Saturday, he and other neighbors have noticed a green film sitting on the water in Shoals Creek.

“If you have a family and you’re living on the creek, you want to get out on the water and there’s no way that someone would let their kids, they wouldn’t get out in it. They wouldn’t let their kids or their dogs get out in this water because it’s just nasty,” said Richey.

He’s concerned a nearby sewage spill is overflowing into the creek.

“There’s a smell to it and there’s trash and it’s changed the coloration of the water that usually flows through here,” said Richey.

Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health confirm a nearby pump station is leaking sewage and is in need of repair. Management of the nearby mobile home park has been given 72 hours to fix the issue.

The State Department of Environmental Management has also tested the water for possible contamination and found that there is a sewage spill.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management released the following statement Tuesday night:

“After receiving a complaint Monday about a possible sewage spill near the Woodland Hills trailer park in Lauderdale County, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management conducted multiple inspections of the trailer park and nearby streams. ADEM inspectors collected samples and observed impacted streams, which flow into Shoals Creek, and determined that malfunctioning lift stations that serve the trailer park are responsible for the discharge. Efforts by operators of the trailer park to stop the discharge were ongoing Tuesday afternoon.

Whenever there is a sewage spill or discharge of this nature, ADEM recommends the public avoid the area and abstain from recreational activities. ADEM will continue to monitor the situation until the problem is resolved.”

The State Department of Environmental Management

Richey said he wants to see clear water.

“I found two dead fish floating near my sea wall and I never find dead fish out here so there’s something out there that’s just not right for fish or people to be in this water,” said Richey.

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