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Decatur Sewage Overflow difficult to identify compared to run-off water

Decatur Utilities reported earlier Friday there were 13 Sanitary Sewage Overflows in the city.

Posted: Jan 3, 2020 9:52 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2020 10:47 PM

Decatur roads are covered with sewage overflow caused by this week's flooding, but without signs from Decatur Utilities, people walking and driving here might think it's just rainwater.

Decatur Utilities reported earlier Friday there were 13 Sanitary Sewage Overflows in the city. 

"There's 13? That's 13 too many, I wasn't aware that it was 13!" Alicia Acosta, who lives in Decatur, said. 

Decatur Utilities says the sewage water is diluted by the rainwater, but that's what makes it difficult to tell what it actually looks like. The problem is people in the impacted areas can't easily tell the difference between rain and sewage overflow.

"My concerns are for the citizens who live here, the children, and wondering how sick can we get? When it's going to be fixed," Acosta said.

The warning signs along the impacted areas tell people to avoid contact with the overflow water, and to wash yourself with soap and water if you touch it.

Earlier in the week, city officials said this problem happens because Decatur is surrounded by so much water that it floods easily, and the sewage system may contain old clay pipes, that are breaking.

Acosta says with it being hard to tell where sewage water exactly is, she makes sure her children are covered.

"I'm dressing them in extra layers, making sure they are covered, we don't touch anything, the windows are up when we roll past," Acosta said.

Decatur Utilities says impacted areas, will be cleaned and disinfected once the overflows stop. There is no fast solution for this problem but the company says it has invested millions of dollars to fixing it.

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