ADEM sues Fairhope over sewage discharge


FAIRHOPE – The Alabama Department of Environmental Management sued the city of Fairhope charging that the city violated its environmental permits by not reporting sewage spills and other issues between 2015 and 2018.

The lawsuit was filed in Baldwin County Circuit Court on Friday, May 15 by ADEM and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

The complaint charges that Fairhope did not notify the public or the Alabama Department of Public Health of six sewage spills between April 2015 and May 2018. The lawsuit also states that Fairhope did not submit timely reports of two discharges in the spring of 2015.

The complaint also charges that the city did not report excessive bacteria levels in discharges in September 2018. Fecal coliform bacteria had a monthly average of 78.31 colonies in a 100 milliliter sample. The permitted level is 14. Enterococci levels in the same period were 150 per sample, exceeding the 104 colony limit, according to the complaint.

The complaint stated that each violation could carry a fine of up to $25,000.