Thanks to those who signed our petition asking for improved public notification of sewage spills, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management just released two new tools that are the first step in that direction. The first is a map which visualizes all current spills and the second is an opt-in e-mail notification system that informs you of sewage spills (also called sanitary sewer overflows, or SSOs for short). With Tropical Storm Harvey reaching Alabama this week, sewage spills are likely and now is a great time to get signed up for notifications. Here’s how to sign up:
- Visit the Alabama Department of Environmental Management website: www.adem.alabama.gov
- On the left sidebar, enter your e-mail address where it says “Enter your email address to sign up for ADEM Email Notifications,” then click Submit.
- Where it says “I would like to be notified when…” check the last box for Sanitary Sewer Overflows.
- Select the counties you live and recreate in.
- Click submit and you’re done!
When a sewage treatment facility detects a spill, they are required to report it to ADEM within 24 hours. Once that electronic report hits ADEM’s server, an e-mail alert will be sent out within about 15 minutes. This progress was brought about because of the pressure the public applied in demanding to know when their safety while swimming, fishing and boating is endangered. In addition to being aware of sewage spills that might affect your swimmin’ or fishing’ hole, make sure to get our Swim Guide weekly water quality alerts in the summer by texting “SWIMGUIDE” to 844-83! We’ll be out getting as many samples as we can this Thursday despite Tropical Storm Harvey, which is likely to cause some water quality alerts to be issued for Labor Day Weekend.