We have a terrible secret in our state: dangerously dirty water. Did you know? Alabama leaders hope you don’t.
- Chemical contamination has put drinking water in Decatur and northeast Alabama at risk.
- Residents in south Alabama are now suffering from hookworm, a parasite that was thought to have been eradicated in First-World countries like ours years ago. Outbreaks are linked to areas where the sanitation is poor and sewer systems inadequate.
- Raw sewage spills have plagued areas in and around Tuscaloosa for the last decade, These continuing spills affect the Black Warrior River, as well as city streets residents cross and public spaces children play in. Tuscaloosa is unique because its runoff contains both raw sewage and toxic chemical waste.
- Massive sewage spills continue to spoil the waters around Mobile. In 2017 alone, over 21 million gallons of raw sewage spilled affecting waters in Mobile Bay and Baldwin county. Many Alabama towns suffer from similar outdated sewer-system issues and leadership daunted by the expense of addressing them.
If we are to protect our families and children from illness and disease, we need a clean start in Montgomery.
For years, Alabama leaders have kicked the can down the road until there is almost no road left. And the solutions that remain have become exorbitantly expensive. But just as the problems with our water systems are many, so too must be our solutions:
- Cities like Tuscaloosa must no longer forego critical revenue from impact fees for developers at the expense of properly funding basic sanitation for its citizens.
- Leadership at ADEM must put citizen’s safety above any corporation’s bottom line—and issue fines accordingly.
- We must also look to other states and cities that have successfully begun to bring their antiquated systems up to modern standards. And we must take good notes.
When I am governor, you have my pledge that I will immediately start working to remedy this urgent situation. Simply talking about it is no longer an option that Alabama citizens can accept, nor live with. Literally.