Dodge City addresses sewage treatment plant contamination

‘It is safe. Living Water Services caught the problem almost immediately.’

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The Dodge City Town Council is seen at its February meeting Thursday evening. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

DODGE CITY, Ala. – Dodge City Mayor Tawana Canada on Thursday night updated the council on the recent contamination of a “treatment lagoon” that is part of the town’s unique natural sewage treatment plant. Canada said up to 2,000 gallons of oil were released into the system by an unknown person or persons. Inspectors cited, “A customer may have discharged industrial runoff from a commercial garage into the sewer collection system.”

Dodge City’s “green” sewage treatment plant has a system of “S” shaped ponds that filter out bacteria with cat tails and duck weed. The water is also treated with UV light to remove any remaining bacteria.

Canada shared, “Living Water Services will be handling everything (concerning clean-up). What happened was somebody released a large amount, maybe up to 2,000 gallons, of oil into our system, and we may have to actually get cameras to put a stop to whoever is doing it.”

The Town received a warning letter from Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Feb. 3, 2020:

An inspection performed by Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) personnel on January 15, 2020 has revealed that the referenced facility is in violation of UIC Permit Number ALSI9922593 as authorized by ADEM Administrative Code Rule 335-6-8.

Part I- C of the above-referenced permit requires that only the treated domestic sanitary wastewater effluent described in the permit application shall be injected. During the inspection, an oily sheen was observed in the treatment lagoons. The facility personnel indicated that a customer may have discharged industrial runoff from a commercial garage into the sewer collection system.

Within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter you should submit to the Department a written plan and schedule, outlining the steps that will be taken to correct and prevent the recurrence of the above noted violation. The facility should collect water samples from the lagoon, effluent discharge and groundwater monitoring well and test for Volatile Organic Compounds and Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Please submit these results within forty five (45) days of the date of this letter…

Canada assured residents their water is safe, saying, “It is safe. Living Water Services caught the problem almost immediately. It’s contained to one cell and it’s being treated so that the oil is absorbed out of the water before it’s released into the other cells.”

In other business, the council continued its preparations for the upcoming March 3 Primary, voting to rent voting machines. Canada estimated the cost to rent the machines at $3,000. The council then voted to hire four election workers, with one inspector and three poll workers. The inspector will be paid $100, and the poll workers $75. The four election workers will be paid another $25 for attending election school to learn procedures and what to do come election day.

The council voted for future council places to remain unchanged, with candidates being elected to places one through five. It also voted to keep the qualifying fee for future council members at $0.

The council also voted to keep the pay rate the same for the next mayor and council members. Council members earn $150 per regular meeting and $25 per special meeting. The mayor earns $24,865 a year.

The council voted to get bids on a tree service to remove fallen trees from Perry Ray Park and other areas in town.

The Dodge City Town Council meets the second Thursday of each month. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be March 12, 2020 at 6 p.m. at Dodge City Town Hall.

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Maggie Darnell

maggie@cullmantribune.com