PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - While flood waters have gone down, damage costs are rising for Phenix City officials.
"Good fishing, you don't have to go far out, and catfish love the fresh rain," said Phenix City resident James Watts, who was making the most of a full Chattahoochee River last week. However, he might want to give those catfish a good wash.
"It was pretty much off and on throughout that entire week and of course we had some more the week prior to New Years," said Phenix City Utilities Director Roger Conner as he described water contamination that began the week of Christmas.
Waste water was flowing on and off into the murky waters of the Hooch as extensive rain damage caused issues along the bank. Phenix City is in the middle of multimillion-dollar renovation projects to their waste water treatment system to handle growth throughout the city, but even the new upgrades funded by tax payer dollars couldn't have prepared the city for this much water.
"It's more than what you can actually build for, to handle from a capacity stand point. It would literally bankrupt a community if they tried," said Conner.
The damage of more than a dozen inches of rain will cost the Phenix City utilities department around $70,000. Water rushing down 32nd Place met with rising waters of the Hooch, causing the ground to give up at that line.
While the over flows of waste have been contained, the clean up is just beginning. Phenix City officials say they have reported the sewage water overflow to both Alabama and Georgia officials and are looking to their new waste system updates to prevent the issue from happening under normal circumstances.