Phenix City Utilities Director defends contamination allegations, 'The water is clean'

Phenix City Utilities Director defends contamination allegations, 'The water is clean'
Updated: Jun. 23, 2017 at 7:45 PM EDT
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PHENIX CTIY, AL (WTVM) - The Director of Phenix City Utilities is firing back at reports that the local Waste Water Treatment Plant is dumping harmful chemicals and waste into the Chattahoochee River.

The Director, Steve Smith is hoping to counteract these claims with what he says is evidence and truth.

"The water we put back into the river is cleaner than the water we take out of the river to form for drinking water," said Smith.

The Chattahoochee River races on from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, spilling millions of gallons of water a day While, some portions of the River may be filled with treacherous waves, Director of Phenix City Utilities, Steve Smith says one thing it is not, is dirty.

"The water is tested all of the time, and it is safe for people to be in. We spent 4.5 million dollars updating our waste water treatment plant to make sure we are getting good, clean water that meets all safety regulations," says Smith.

The Chattahoochee River Warden is attempting to counteract these claims. Through Facebook, he is attempting to raise awareness to what he claims is an unusual amount of foam and bubbles in parts of the Alabama riverside.

According to Warden Henry Jackson, these bubbles are a possible discharge coming from the Waste Water Treatment Plant, a pipe spewing contamination and waste into the river.

"These discharges they create foam just because of the force of the water coming into the river, but there is a normal amount of foam, and then there is the extra foam that we feel was present," says Jackson.

The warden filing his own complaints to Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the city firing back in their own way.

"We went out and had an outside testing firm come in and retest the water, and it shows no detectable limits of anything harmful going into the river," says Smith.

Smith says the foaming and bubbles is a natural occurrence that happens when water is agitated. He says while this sometimes is an indication of pollution and contamination, this time, it is not the case.

Smith says while the water may not always be pretty, it's definitely not harmful.

"The River is clean and millions of dollars, billions actually if you go up north to Atlanta have been spent cleaning up this River," says Smith.

Smith says all testing results are public information available to review.

The Warden, Henry Jackson says, it was just that one small portion that signaled questions and concerns. He also says since their specific tests are not complete, he can not comment if anything was contaminated was actually found.

Jackson says his organization will continue to test the water for possible signs of contamination.

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