City Government The playground area of Atlanta Memorial Park taped off after it was contaminated with sewage during an earlier flood incident.

Published on March 3rd, 2016 |

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Mayor postpones work session about Memorial Park sewage spills

Mayor Kasim Reed and the city’s Department of Watershed Management (DWM) postponed a March 2 work session with the City Council’s Utilities Committee in order to better prepare. The session had been called to discuss flooding and sewage overflow problems at Atlanta Memorial Park.

The work session, which is open to the public, is now scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, at 1 p.m. at Atlanta City Hall.

Mayor Kasim Reed vetoes resolution to force city to clean up sewage in creeks and parks.

Mayor Kasim Reed vetoed resolution to force city to clean up sewage in creeks and parks.

Mayor Reed had previously promised representatives of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy and neighborhoods surrounding the park that he and members DWM would tour the areas of Memorial Park that have been most affected by flooding and sewage pollution during periods of heavy rainfall. That tour is now reportedly scheduled for March 8.

The mayor asked for the postponement of the March 2 meeting for a week in order to allow enough time for him and the DWM staff to facilitate that tour prior to the work session. The session is designed to evaluate the problems at the park and attempt to identify short- and long-term measures to correct the problems.

The workshop session was agreed to by DWM officials and members of the City Council’s Utilities Committee on Feb. 23. DWM staff had originally agreed to provide plans for correcting the stormwater problems on that date, but asked for a postponement to March 2.

At the Feb. 23 meeting, Mayor Reed representatives promised what city officials called “an aggressive approach” to solving the flooding problems that have plagued the park and the Peachtree Creek basin. Part of that promise was to tour the park to witness the problem areas.

“The health and safety of Atlanta residents is this administration’s top priority,” Reed said in a statement. “We have been and continue to be focused on fixing the sewage overflows in our creeks and parks. Our approach is holistic, which can be both expensive and time-consuming, and not always clear that progress is being made underground.”

Buckhead resident and At-Large City Councilwoman Mary Norwood is calling for a major infrastructure project to control water runoff in the area. City Council unanimously approved a Norwood resolution calling on DWM to provide council with plans to resolve the problems within 90 days.

Mayor Reed vetoed that council action last week and the City Council is scheduled to decide on March 7 whether or not to override the mayor’s veto.

BuckheadView has been told that Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean, who represents the Memorial Park neighborhoods in her district, plans to offer an alternative piece of legislation related to the problem during the March 7 regular City Council meeting.

“When sewer-filled stormwater floods is in our city’s public parks, that is a public health hazard,” Norwood said. “That is unacceptable.”

There is some thought the mayor postponed the March 2 work session in order to see whether City Council will override his veto of Norwood’s legislation and to determine if Atlanta residents would vote to re-authorize the 1 percent Municipal Option Sales Tax during the presidential primary election March 1. Voters did approve the MOST, which is to be used to fund water and sewer system infrastructure improvements. (See story about the MOST vote here.)

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