Public Health DSC_0581

Published on March 24th, 2016 |

0

No rain, but manhole behind Brookwood Hills spills sewage to Clear Creek

Perhaps it was heavy rains this past week causing Clear Creek in south Buckhead to swell. Or perhaps everyone just flushed their toilets at the same time. Not likely. But there definitely was an active sewage spill from a manhole next to Clear Creek and behind Brookwood Hills on Sunday, March 20.

Craig Pendergrast discussed storage systems during a recent work session of the city Utilities Committee.

Craig Pendergrast discussed storage systems during a recent work session of the city Utilities Committee.

Attorney Craig K. Pendergrast sent BuckheadView an email about it. And Brookwood Hills resident Esther Stokes also emailed about the situation there behind her neighborhood.

“I was just walking the trail near Clear Creek behind the Brookwood Hills neighborhood to get a feel for it,” wrote Pendergrast, who has been known to chide the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWR) for not finding a way to stop sewage dumps into Buckhead’s creeks and parks.

“Lo and behold, I stumbled onto an active sewage spill from a manhole riser directly into the creek.  The riser is right next to the underpass for the creek where the railroad/MARTA line crosses it,” Pendergrast reported.

DWR staff claims dry-weather sewage spills from manholes are unusual. However, residents near Clear Creek, Tanyard Creek and Peachtree Creek and Atlanta Memorial Park say they occur on a rather routine basis.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Atlanta City Council passed and sent to Mayor Kasim Reed a second resolution—this one by Dist. 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean—urging DWM to take “whatever steps necessary to continue addressing the public health impacts from all discharges, combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows from the city’s wastewater treatment system to our creeks, parks and neighborhoods.”

The City Council resolution also requests that within 90 days of its adoption, DWM present to the City Utilities Committee “a report that addresses all discharges, combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows that are occurring from the city’s wastewater treatment system, the potential impacts” of those on the city’s neighborhoods,

Brookwood Hills resident Esther Stokes is presented a 2016 Park Pride Inspiration Award by Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki.

Brookwood Hills resident Esther Stokes is presented a 2016 Park Pride Inspiration Award by Park Pride Executive Director Michael Halicki.

creeks and parks, “and plans to mitigate those potential impacts.”

The Adrean resolution is very similar to one by At-Large City Councilwoman Mary Norwood that recently was passed by City Council and then was vetoed by Mayor Reed.  Adrean told BuckheadView she has “no reason to believe it will be vetoed.”

On Sunday, Pendergrast was walking back out of the area where he saw the sewage spill when he crossed paths with three DWM employees walking in.

“I accessed the area by walking down a recently created access road, across from the end of Palisades Road, which was made by DWM in response to an earlier spill in that area which Esther Stokes told me about,” Pendergrast wrote BuckheadView.  He copied Stokes on his email.

Upon returning home to her Brookwood Hills home, Stokes read the email and replied, “Across the street were several official-looking vehicles (big), who just pulled out as daylight is disappearing.  They must be the (city of Atlanta) employees you reported.”

“I have been avoiding walking down in there because there has been so much mud but obviously now it is dry and that does indeed make the spill pretty shocking,” Stokes wrote to Pendergrast.  “What sewage goes into Clear Creek here just continues down to Peachtree Creek, etc.”

Lamenting what has happened to the natural landscape of late, Stokes wrote, “The road you went down has in the past been a trail into the nature preserve.  It is now a construction nightmare,

Founding President of the Memorial Park Conservancy Roxanne Smith, left. and City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean talk with a park area resident during a recent tour of the park by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Founding President of the Memorial Park Conservancy Roxanne Smith, left. and City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean talk with a park area resident during a recent tour of the park by Mayor Kasim Reed.

with enormous equipment coming and going, accomplishing we know not what.

“They brought in many tons of granite rip rap to make their way easier, I think.  Now we have the ugly granite to deal with, even if the fix does happen.  We had a natural setting; now we have a

gash in the landscape.  And the sewage flows on,” noted the 18-year parks and green space advocate, who was presented one of Park Pride’s 2016 Inspiration Awards on Monday.

On Tuesday of this week, Adrean and members of the Atlanta Memorial Park Conservancy (AMPC) met with the mayor and city leaders, along with a representative from the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization, according to a report from Adrean on Thursday. An independent engineer invited by the Conservancy, Shepherd Long PE, was also in attendance. Long is an engineer with Long Engineering Inc.

In an email to BuckheadView, Adrean said, “The meeting lasted 90 minutes and included a discussion of neighborhood concerns and potential solutions as outlined by (DWM) Commissioner (Jo Ann) Macrina.  The next steps are for the independent engineer to analyze data and meet with DWM personnel and to advise the working group.”

Adrean wrote, “Specific issues included scope of Peachtree trunk rehabilitation, solutions for manholes, remediation/relocation for arterial lines,

Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina addresses the crowd before a recent tour of the park with Mayor Kasim Reed.

Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina addresses the crowd before a recent tour of the park with Mayor Kasim Reed.

increase in capacity, creek bank erosion control and relocation of the (Memorial Park) playground.”

Adrean said the group will be meeting again “in the next few weeks once Shep is ready to further discuss solutions and timelines.” Many of those in this group had previous met with the mayor to discuss the issues prior to Reed touring Memorial Park critical points with members of his administration and DWM.

According to Adrean, the Conservancy held a board meeting Tuesday evening. “I did not attend the meeting and have not had any follow up at this time,” Adrean wrote BuckheadView.

According to one person who attended the Tuesday meeting with Mayor Reed and DWM representatives, the “dry-weather spill” from the manhole next to Clear Creek and behind the Brookwood Hills neighborhood was never mentioned during that meeting.

Print Friendly

Be Sociable, Share!


    About the Author



    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Back to Top ↑
    • Grab BuckheadView!

    • Follow Us

       

    • Visit Our Other Publications

    • Ad
    • Ad

    • BuckheadGuidebook