Norwood calls for action in ongoing sewer overflows at Buckhead park

Flooding and sewer overflows have been an ongoing problem at Atlanta Memorial Park for decades. (File)
Flooding and sewer overflows have been an ongoing problem at Atlanta Memorial Park for decades. (File)

Atlanta City Councilmember Mary Norwood says the city is in violation of the Clean Water Act after flooding on Peachtree Creek sent sewage flowing into the playground and other areas of Atlanta Memorial Park in Buckhead.

Norwood updated the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at its Feb. 11 meeting on the flooding issues at the park, which have been an ongoing source of frustration for those who live in the neighborhood. Norwood said she presented a resolution to the city’s Utilities Committee to fix the problem with a 90-day timeline for Watershed Management to come up with a plan.

However, the solution might not be cheap.

Norwood said she believes a new wastewater diversion tunnel similar to the one built at Nancy Creek might be necessary to fix the sewage problems at Atlanta Memorial Park. The Nancy Creek Tunnel project cost $180 million.

Norwood said the Liddell Drive Equalization Facility, opened in 2014 to help ease sewer overflows on Peachtree Creek, was not working as expected.

Atlanta Memorial Park isn’t the only location where there have been issues with sewage. Norwood said there were 46 sewer overflows in the city in 2015. She accused the city and Watershed Management of “getting clever” with language on how it defines sewer overflows so that it appears the city is not in violation of federal laws under the Clean Water Act.

Norwood said the city also didn’t post proper signage warning residents about the sewage contamination in the park and that children were seen walking in E. coli infested water to get to the playground.

“What’s happening at Atlanta Memorial Park is outrageous,” Norwood said, and encouraged the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods to draft a letter to the city endorsing her request for Watershed Management to come up with a solution.

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