City of Troy settles water pollution lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 2, 2001

Staff Writer

The city of Troy has settled a water pollution lawsuit, resulting in the payment of $51,000 to the state and bringing the wastewater treatment plant into compliance with state regulations.

"We’re just proud to get this behind us," Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said, adding the city chose to pay a fine based on counsel recommendation.

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A consent decree between the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and the city was approved by the Pike County Circuit Court on Aug. 10 and payment was made this week, Attorney General Bill Pryor said Thursday.

A check for $41,000 will be forwarded to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations for an environmental project and $10,000 will go into the state’s General Fund.

Lunsford said the city could have easily just paid the fine to the state, but wanted that money to be put to positive use in Pike County to create "an environmentally friendly area."

The Department of Industrial Relations will use the funds for the environmental restoration of an abandoned iron ore reservoir, occupying about eight acres near Big Creek in the Palmyra Community of southwest Pike County. A manmade cliff that is about 800 feet long and averaging about 15 feet high will be leveled out and replanted with trees and grasses to control erosion and eliminate safety hazards.

"I do want to point out we never had a problem as far as pollution was concerned," Lunsford said. "We just didn’t pass a test because of detergents being released by one of our industries."

That industry, Lunsford said, has worked with the city to correct the problem.

The lawsuit filed on Dec. 1, 1999 alleged discharge from the Troy Wastewater Treatment Plant had toxicity levels ­ between 1994 and 1999 ­ in violation of its water pollution permits.

"Since our complaint was filed, we have been pleased to see improvements in test results for the Troy wastewater treatment system," Pryor said. "Quarterly tests over the past year have shown the system now to be in compliance with its permit.

"Our settlement provides more stringent and frequent monitoring to help ensure that the toxicity problems do not recur."

Pryor praised Assistant Attorney General Craig Kneisel and Robert Tambling for their work in bringing the lawsuit to a successful conclusion.