MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — A warning from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) may have the City of Madison forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars soon. An audit shows Madison isn’t in compliance with regulations under the Clean Water Act.
Unfortunately, city leaders say it’s a lack of communication between the City of Madison, the City of Huntsville, and ADEM. “We were originally lumped into the Huntsville permit which puts us into a large municipality criteria” said Gary Chynoweth, Director of Engineering for the City of Madison.
Chynoweth told WHNT News 19 that ADEM removed Madison from Huntsville umbrella in 2008. However, he doesn’t have any record of it.
“There is not a problem with pollution, there is a problem with us proving we don’t have pollution,” he said.
Chynoweth said Madison wants to drop to a less strict level for smaller cities, but because it used to be in connection with Huntsville, it’s not an option. “What they’re asking us to mimic is the City of Montgomery,” he said. “Of course their criteria and requirements are much more than ours.”
So, where do they go from here? Madison has to create a program that will prove they are proactive about keeping streams clean and free from pollution. “Things as simple as street sweeping, but for a city like Madison, if you sweep the streets twice a year, that’s $50,000. That’s a mile of road I could resurface so we’re having to juggle finances,” he said.
“We’ve got to negotiate middle ground where we come up with a plan that they approve that shows we are looking after the city, documenting it correctly, and doing it at a cost that we can afford, and that’s going to be the big issue,” said Chynoweth.
Chynoweth said he thinks it will be about $400,000 for the City of Madison to implement a plan. He said that will be based on what comes out of negotiations with ADEM. The City is also looking into possibly hiring a new position with the Engineering Department to keep track of all Clean Water Act records.