Report: Daphne Utilities Released Bacteria 4000% Above Legal Limit in January

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday April 3, 2018

Contact: J. Patrick Courtney, III, Attorney

Jpc3law@aol.com. 251-694-1001.

Mobile Baykeeper Report Shows Daphne Utilities Released Bacteria 4000% Above Legal Limit in January

Pictured Above: The "treated" sewage being released into Mobile Bay from Daphne Utilities sewage plant.

(Mobile, Ala.) - Mobile Baykeeper has once again discovered ongoing violations by Daphne Utilities. On December 19, 2017, Baykeeper filed a lawsuit against the utility due to fraudulently reporting and failing to report sewage spills discharging into Mobile Bay, violating the Clean Water Act and Alabama Water Pollution Control Act. Since this time, violations have continued and worsened. Mobile Baykeeper’s newest report, which documents violations occurring in January 2018, comes on the heels of discovering  25 violations from September to December 2017 with some instances of bacteria levels “too high to measure”.

Sewage foam floats on D'Olive Creek after a sewage spill from Daphne Utilities sewage plant.

“After filing the initial lawsuit, we hoped we would begin to see some improvements.” said Casi (kc) Callaway, Mobile Baykeeper Executive Director & Baykeeper. “Instead, our investigations show that Daphne Utilities is dumping millions of gallons of sewage pollution into Mobile Bay every single day. We will not be satisfied with any outcome that does not get to the root of these issues and ensure they are completely fixed to protect the health of our communities.”

“Resolution to these ongoing issues needs to come from a transparent and thorough process that includes Mobile Baykeeper, the organization that first brought these issues to light. Anything less would lack assurances that these problems are satisfactorily resolved to protect the health of our community.” Callaway added.

Mobile Baykeeper’s report shows that Daphne Utilities released nearly three million gallons of partially treated sewage every day in January, amounting to approximately 4.6 trillion colonies of bacteria above the legal limit being released into Mobile Bay during the entire month. Other violations are detailed in the latest addendum. Baykeeper’s investigation has revealed the likelihood that these violations were occurring and unreported before Baykeeper took legal action in September 2017.

Depositions for Van Baggett and Mike Hogeland, two former Daphne Utilities employees who provided evidence of ongoing violations and issues at Daphne Utilities to Mobile Baykeeper, are scheduled for Thursday, April 5, 2018.

Graph showing self reported violations for Daphne Utilities since September.

For more details on additional violations, click here to view the official addendum to Mobile Baykeeper’s investigation report against Daphne Utilities. To read the investigation report in full, click here.

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Background

Mobile Baykeeper filed a 60-day notice of intent (NOI) to sue for the above violations on September 19, 2017. Following this, The State of Alabama and Alabama Department of Environmental Management filed suit in the Court of Alabama on November 22, 2017. Mobile Baykeeper intervened to file a lawsuit against Daphne Utilities on December 19, 2017.


Mobile Baykeeper is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that works to provide citizens a means to protect the beauty, health and heritage of the Mobile Bay Watershed and our coastal communities.