MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) A spokesperson for the Mobile Area Water & Sewer System (MAWSS) said the company is working to correct a sewage overflow problem caused by storm water this week.
The Baldwin County Health Department said in a release that a lift station and manhole along College Street in Robertsdale are overflowing due to heavy rainfall, sending up to 1,000,000 gallons of sewage into Rock Creek.
Mobile Area Water & Sewer System (MAWSS) said in a release that they responded to 33 sanitary sewer overflows as a result of the heavy downpours on Sunday and Monday. MAWSS said more than 631,000 of raw sewage spilled into Eslava and Three Mile Creeks and the Dog River combined.
MAWSS Spokesperson Barbara Shaw said the sewer water bubbling up this week in Mobile is higher than usual, and so is the amount of rainfall.
"This month alone we've had eleven inches of rain," Shaw said. "I think we've had 12 days of rain. The ground is saturated. The water has no place to go so it's looking for any openings.
Shaw said storm water that is supposed to run into storm drains is somehow getting into their lines.
"It's starts looking for little openings that may be in the sewer system, and sometimes that comes from root intrusions, sometimes that comes from maybe a shift in the ground where there's a little crack and a little opening," Shaw said. "It surges our line, and then it has no place to go except to come out through the manholes."
Shaw said it is why MAWSS workers will spend the next couple of months looking into the problem, and hopefully find solutions.
"You'll see our crews out doing things like smoke testing, doing dye testing and trying to determine where that water's coming in from and what kind of solution do we need.
"There's no fast an easy fix to it. It will take time, and it will take money."
Springhill Medical Center ER Physician Dr. Trey Simms said coming into contact with the untreated water can be serious.
"Most of the symptoms are gastrointestinal related; nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea," Simms said. "The main danger from those is dehydration."
Simms said the tainted waters are ripe for e coli, and other diseases.