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Sewage has been spilling into some creeks in Marshall County for decades

After heavy rain, sewage leaks into some Marshall County creeks.

Posted: Jul 25, 2019 5:16 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2019 5:16 PM

Apparently, sewage has been spilling into some creeks in Marshall County for decades, but Thursday afternoon, work to stop it is officially underway.

After heavy rain, sewage leaks into Shoal, Gilliam and Riley Mays creeks.

"Sometimes it just has a weird smell, like an awful smell," said Hannah Jones.

Jones lives near Shoal Creek in Arab and said after a heavy rain, she will start to smell sewage near the water.

"I thought it was weird, but I didn't realize they were going to fix it," said Jones.

A fix for that stinky situation is on now underway. Just this week, crews started work on the sewage system.

"While they're cleaning, they're running video inspection on it to see where all the broken lines are and that kind of stuff, and then we know where to fix it," said John Barnes.

Barnes manages the Arab Sewer Board. He says right now, sewage leaks into creeks after multiple days of heavy rain. Barnes says by the time the sewage gets to rivers, it's dissipated enough to not cause a problem. These repairs have been a long time coming, with issues flowing back decades.

"On and off for about the history of the sewer board, really, 50, 60 years," said Barnes.

The renovations should also make the system more efficient and decrease backups. The city is getting some grants and a loan to cover the $11 million project. It should be complete by next June.

The sewage board is required to report the leaks to the county and state and Barnes says they do that. We've reached out to environmental management to learn if there truly is no threat once the sewage reaches the rivers.

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