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Tennessee Riverkeeper plans to sue Decatur Utilities for sewage violations

DECATUR, Ala. - Tennessee Riverkeeper intends to sue Decatur Utilities for sewage violations. The organization said the Decatur Wastewater Treatment Plant has violated the Clean Water Act and the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act. A notice of intent to sue was sent to the City of Decatur on Friday.

Read the NOIS in its entirety here:

Tennessee Riverkeeper founder David Whiteside stated, “In 2019, in Decatur, Alabama, there have been 50 sewage overflows totaling more than 6,400,000 gallons of untreated sewage entering our waterways.”

Tennessee Riverkeeper says the Decatur Utilities Waste Water Treatment Plant has had 245 total overflow violations, with an estimated total volume between 22,204,488 and 24,749,988 gallons since April 2014, according to DU’s own reports.

"We deal with a lot of sewage. It's one of the biggest pollution issues that we deal with across Tennessee and Alabama," said Whiteside.

Whiteside claimed most litigation fails to make an impact and citizens are concerned.

"Black or white, rich or poor, humble or noble all of these citizens share the river, and they all want clean water but unfortunately they're being let down by a political process that's been corrupted by these polluters and public servants who would rather defend the pollution than public health and their communities," said Whiteside.

In a news release, he stated, “Pollution continues to proliferate throughout Decatur including PFAS, plastics, sewage, and a grim litany of known and unknown toxins.  Citizens in Decatur, across the river in Athens and folks downstream are unjustly inundated with pollution and aquatic anxiety. These logical concerns about contaminated water are enabled by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and a political process that continues to kowtow to the polluters’ interest at great detriment to public health. Sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant and Riverkeeper continues to shine the light on pollution and corruption.”

Tennessee Riverkeeper plans to file suit against Decatur Utilities in federal district court in May and plans to request, among other things, a judgment declaring the discharges and violations from the Decatur wastewater treatment plant illegal.

We have reached out to Decatur Utilities for comment but they have not responded at this time.

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