PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - As WTVM News Leader 9 reported exclusively last week, illegally routed overflow pipes in Phenix City have allowed raw sewage to flow into the Chattahoochee River for years.
For all of us who respect the river whether fishing, kayaking, rafting or paddle-boarding, that is most unwelcome and disturbing news.
Current Phenix City utilities managers told our reporters that instead of disclosing sewage over-flows and devising a safe method to deal with it, former city employees installed pipes like these to re-direct that sewage into creeks that eventually feed the Chattahoochee River.
The sadder news is that this pipe makes the sixth illegal pipe discovered since 2012. That is enough to make anyone who values the river angry.
Phenix City officials believe the illegal pipes were installed around 2008 or earlier, meaning an unknown number of gallons of sewage entered our local waterways for at least the past seven years.
Phenix City officials pledge to get to the bottom of how and why this nasty environmental problem was allowed to happen.
The Russell County District Attorney's office may ultimately decide if it was a criminal act.
We support Phenix City's current efforts to be pro-active to prevent any more sewage from flowing into the river.
Acknowledgement of the problem is the first step towards a real solution.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906