Mobile Baykeeper accuses Daphne Utilities of dumping untreated sewage into Mobile Bay

Mobile Bay
Live Oak along Mobile Bay Bayfront Park, Daphne, Alabama [Photo Credit: jim324w via Flikr]

At the beginning of April, the Mobile Baykeeper, an environmental group, accused Daphne Utilities of Daphne, Ala. of dumping untreated sewage into the Mobile Bay.

According to the group, Daphne Utilities released three million gallons of untreated sewage per day into the Blakeley River and Mobile Bay at the beginning of the year. The organization published pictures of the alleged brown sludge being released from the Daphne Utilities waste management plant, and now claims that the water has bacteria levels 4000 percent above the legal limit.

Mobile Baykeeper also filed a lawsuit against the utility company in December of 2017, claiming the company violated the Clean Water Act and the Alabama Water Pollution Control Act, and are adding the new allegations to that lawsuit.

Thursday evening, during a Daphne City Council meeting, Mayor Dane Haygood took time to discuss his stance on some of the issues facing Daphne Utilities regarding these allegations, according to Gulf Coast News Today.

“I don’t believe the average person understands the distinction between Daphne Utilities and the City of Daphne,” said Haygood. “Some of the public relations response to these issues have an implication back to the City of Daphne, though. Whether or not they’re under direct management of the city, there is a reflection on the City of Daphne with these actions.”

Mayor Haygood is one of five voting members on the Daphne Utilities board, and claimed he voted for the company to conduct a full examination of the allegations made by the Mobile Baykeepers.

“I think the allegations are certainly concerning,” Haygood told the City Council. “As a board, I’m not sure the response has been correct. I hope these issues get behind Daphne Utilities for the sake of the utility board and the city as a whole.”

Jon Gray, a representative of Daphne Utilities, said the company started to make changes earlier in the year, and by February was in compliance with current regulations.

The Daphne Utility Board denied that the treated water in the pictures published by the Mobile Baykeeper was dangerous and are now accusing the Baykeepers of exaggerating the matter.

“While we’re doing some of that maintenance we may see spikes in our test results to the outfall line, but that doesn’t mean we’re putting raw sewage in Mobile Bay,” Gray told WALA FOX 10.