Alabama riverkeepers worry Hurricane Sally could cause pollution and litter

Local News

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Local riverkeepers in the Birmingham area are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sally and how it could affect the city’s rivers, streams, and creeks.

Nelson Brooke of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper in Tuscaloosa, said in small rain events, their pollution controllers like the litter gitter are very helpful, but due to the amount of rain Sally could bring, Brooke said many of the litter gitters were taken apart.

“Most pollution controls that are put in place just really aren’t engineered to handle massive rain events or flooding events so this litter gitter, if it gets hammered full of trash and then get hammered by peak flood flows and a couple of tree limbs fall down and rack up against it, then that could overtax the ropes holding it in place and wash it down stream and then we end up with a worst problem then what we’re trying to fix,” Brooke said.

Brooke said even if the storm brought 5 inches of rain, that’s still enough to cause problems.

“It’s not just flooding, It’s spills of chemicals and sewage, litter runoff, it’s a whole merry of things plus the impact of public infrastructure. There could be a washout of roads and bridges. There could be wiping out of utility lines, pipes could get broken, lot of utilities run along bridges and roads and streams so there is a lot of concerns we have to think about,” he said.

Brooke said his team will document the water after the storm and how it was affected by it. He asks for those who see things such as sewer overflow, massive flooding, or infrastructure damage to report it to authorities or to your local riverkeeper.


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