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MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Nearly 7,000 gallons of waste water flowed into waterways in our area following last week’s heavy rain.
It’s a recurring problem for plenty of folks living along the Gulf Coast. And it’s going to take more money to get the problems under control in Mobile, where Friday’s sewer overflows affected parts of Three-Mile Creek, Dog River and Eslava Creek.
On Dog River Drive specifically, officials said 5,500 gallons of sewage flowed into Dog River.
“It’s nasty. It’s unsanitary,” said Samantha Harrell, who lives on the river. She also said her family has dealt with sewer problems on Dog River Drive for years.
“Worst part about it, it would fill your tub up and it being the only bathroom in the house it would kill the whole house. It’d smell,” said Harrell.
Mobile Baykeeper Executive Director Casi Callaway said sewage spills are usually the result of cracked, broken or outdated sewer lines that run throughout the 300-year-old city.
“We have lines in this area that are made of everything from terra cotta to cast iron, to just very old systems,” said Callaway. “MAWSS needs to put more attention on focusing on upgrading and fixing lines.”
Because in some areas, wastewater flowing into Mobile waterways is a common occurrence after heavy rains.
“Why does this keep happening?” asked reporter Christian Jennings to MAWSS spokeswoman, Barbara Shaw.
“This is a problem caused by wet weather. What happens is the rain infiltrates into the sewer line and it surcharges it then you have the overflow. Mostly, if I had to put it in a very simple explanation, it’s aging infrastructure,” said Shaw, spokeswoman for the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System. “Part of the reason you’ve seen us increase rates each year is to address some of the aging infrastructure needs. It would take a tremendous amount of money just to replace what we have in the ground. Until you start having overflows, you realize you have problems and we’re constantly looking for ways to address those.”
Also on Friday, officials in Prichard said more than 9,000 gallons of waste water flowed into Gum Tree Branch, as a result of sewer overflows there.