Last Wednesday, concerned residents of Baldwin County near Fish River met at the Marlow Fish River Fire Station to discuss a plan to put a sewage line under Fish River.
Residents living near Fish River and Weeks Bay were rightfully startled when they began to hear rumors that plans were in place to put a sewage line under the river. The fact that secondhand sources were the way many local citizens and Mobile Baykeeper heard about plans to put a sewage line under Fish River just over 5 miles above beautiful Weeks Bay, an Outstanding National Resource Water, is very concerning.
The project stems from a lawsuit that was settled over 10 years ago between BCSS and Fairhope. While the details of the lawsuit are not immediately clear, the terms of the settlement allowed BCSS to send sewage from approximately 100 customers on the west side of Fish River in the Marlow community to Fairhope for $15/customer. In December when Mayor Karin Wilson took office she determined that this agreement was not in the best interest of Fairhope and wrote BCSS to let them know Fairhope was not interested in extending the agreement and per the terms of the agreement it would be expiring on July 12, 2017.
After, receiving the non-renewal letter from Fairhope, BCSS began working on a project to put a 10” sewage line under Fish River by boring under the river between Ferry Road and Honey Road Extension just south of County Road 32 in Marlow.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, both Mayor Wilson and representatives from BCSS committed to begin discussions to continue treating the sewage in Fairhope and eliminate the need for putting a sewage line underneath Fish River. As of this writing it is our understanding that no formal discussions have taken place. If the two sides can come to an agreement this will be a WIN for residents living along Fish River, citizens of Alabama who enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in the Fish River and Weeks Bay, and the unbelievably beautiful local environment. If not, the sewage line under the river will be a permanently looming threat to citizens, the River, and Weeks Bay. We’re hopeful that Fairhope and BCSS can work out an agreement and do what is best for the local citizens and environment.
Stay tuned for more information as we continue to work to ensure citizens and the environment of Fish River and Weeks Bay are protected.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that a termination letter was sent to BCSS. In fact the letter did not actually terminate the agreement; it reminded BCSS that the agreement would expire on July 12, 2017 and made clear that Fairhope was not interested in renewing the agreement. Additionally, the article stated that no communications took place between Fairhope and BCSS. In fact the Fairhope City attorney called BCSS to ensure they were in receipt of the non-renewal letter.
Want to know more about the work Mobile Baykeeper does to protect the Bay and coastal communities from sewage pollution? Check out the links to the right or give us a call - 251-433-4229.