US Water Alliance for Environmental Justice: In Uniontown, the city and its water and sewer board have faced numerous lawsuits, notably three from the state for water pollution violations. These legal actions underscore issues with the town’s wastewater disposal system, urging the Perry County town and its sewer board to take more substantial corrective measures.
However, a recent development signals a potential shift. In an October 10 meeting, the board approved a project proposal from the U.S. Water Alliance. This initiative aims to assess alternative wastewater disposal options and conduct a sewer rate study, evaluating future revenue and expenses. The funding for this project comes from a grant under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, facilitated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Notably, there was no objection from USDA or the Alabama Rural Water Association, marking a positive turn, according to environmental consultant Lynn Phillips. The U.S. Water Alliance, a national nonprofit dedicated to sustainable water management, plans to involve the community in guiding capital investments for improved outcomes.
Paula Conolly, the alliance’s director of local engagement, shared that they became interested in Uniontown after community members sought technical assistance for the sewer system. Uniontown utilizes a lagoon system instead of a traditional wastewater treatment plant, pumping sewage into a designated area where natural processes should degrade pathogens. However, operational challenges have led to sewage-related issues and subsequent lawsuits.
With approval from the city, the U.S. Water Alliance will proceed with the project. Their next steps involve community engagement, reviewing existing assessments, and collaborating with the Water and Sewer Board for additional analyses. The project’s timeline has not been announced, but the wheels are in motion after the board’s approval.
Terry Jackson, the project manager for the Uniontown Water and Sewer Board, expressed anticipation for the study’s findings. The alliance will assess water rates and present their results to the board, providing valuable information to the City of Uniontown at no cost. Jackson hinted that the findings might lead to some dissatisfaction.