Mayor Tab Bowling discusses Decatur sewage overflow

Mayor Bowling says he will not allow the sewage to remain on city streets and an urgent plan is needed.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020 11:08 AM
Updated: Feb 20, 2020 8:05 AM

Mayor Bowling says he will not allow the sewage to remain on city streets and an urgent plan is needed. 

Decatur Utilities reported 20 million gallons of overflow has spilled out of manholes just this month. Bowling held a press conference Wednesday addressing his concerns. 

He said the city needs council members to consider a change.

Decatur Utilities was not invited to the news conference.

Bowling said it’s a historic period of growth in North Alabama. He said a ten-year plan evaluation is currently underway. It was plan put in place in 2013 and was approved by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Right now, he said there are hundreds of sewer lines that need to be replaced or fixed. He said last year only about 4 or 5 were replaced.

Bowling also clarified the office of the mayor manages the city of Decatur not Decatur Utilities.

"Do the math, we can't tolerate that, and our residents should be expected to tolerate that," Bowling said. 

Decatur Utilities Manager Ray Hardin released a statement in response to the mayor's press conference. 

He said, "While the current ongoing engineering study may prompt an acceleration of rehabilitation efforts in certain areas, it will still not be an overnight fix. This issue should not be leveraged for political capital by the Mayor or anyone else on the City Council."

He added council has approved 60 million dollars over the past 10 years to address the issues. 

WAAY31 also spoke to Council President Paige Bibbee. She said council was not notified of the press conference and she has not been approached by the mayor with these concerns. She adds this issue stems from an outdated infrastructure problem and is an issue state-wide, not just in Decatur. 

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