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At least 18 sewer spills reported in DeKalb after Thursday’s rain

By Tyler Estep, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga

At least 18 sewer spills were reported in DeKalb County on Thursday, as the remnants of Hurricane Sally dumped several inches of rain on the metro Atlanta area.

Initial spill reports did not provide information about potential volume. Many of the incidents were at regular trouble spots, including a location on Meadow Creek Path near Lithonia that saw two multimillion gallon spills earlier this year.

DeKalb’s aging infrastructure often has issues when heavy rain infiltrates the wastewater system through cracked pipes and other defects. The sudden influx of rainwater overwhelms the pipes, pushing untreated sewage — including human waste — out of manholes and other structures.

The sewage often ends up in local waterways, where it can present public health and ecological dangers by spreading bacteria like E.coli.

DeKalb County has been under a consent decree with state and federal environmental regulators since 2011, ordered to repair its long-neglected wastewater system, reduce spills and comply with the federal Clean Water Act.

While efforts have sped up under current CEO Michael Thurmond, previous years of mismanagement and corruption left the county way behind schedule. The consent decree’s original deadline passed in June, and the arrangement is currently being renegotiated.

Details of a modified consent decree could be made public next month.

Locations of sewer spills reported in DeKalb County on Thursday:

4124 Flakes Mill Road, Ellenwood

2614 Lake Erin Drive, Tucker

308 2nd Ave., Decatur

3433 Brookfield Lane, Decatur

3548 Brookfield Lane, Decatur

3401 Tulip Drive, Decatur

1964 East Starmount Way, Decatur

2089 Garden Circle, Decatur

4557 Meadow Creek Path, Lithonia

4027 Flakes Mill Road, Decatur

3087 Thrasher Circle, Decatur

3230 Boring Road, Decatur

1496 Country Squire Drive, Decatur

2480 Miriam Lane, Decatur

2562 Tilly Mill Road, Doraville

3391 Warbler Drive, Decatur

2804 Millwood Way, Decatur

1707 Childerlee Lane, Atlanta