‘“Listening Session” Only’ Makes Citizens even more Concerned about Future of Sewage Plant
On Thursday, February 23rd at 5 PM, the City of Uniontown, Al and Sentell Engineering will hold its next meeting promised to residents at their December 5th public hearing. This hearing has been described by City Officials as a “listening session” where the staff from Sentell Engineering will only answer questions that one pre-submits by email by February 21st.
Esther Calhoun, Uniontown resident and President of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health & Justice (BBC), stated, “On February 7th, the landfill withdrew its $30 million dollar lawsuit against us and we kept our rights to free speech on that side of town. You know ADEM renewed the landfill's permit on February 10th. And with Thursday’s hearing being a “listening session only”, we feel like we are being denied our voice about the sewage crisis. What happened to our Freedom of Speech? Why can’t we ask questions and talk in a public manner about our water and our sewage? We, the people, want a sewage treatment plant that gives us clean air around downtown, clean water in our creeks, and a healthy Uniontown for our children.”
Ben Eaton, Uniontown resident and Vice President of BBC, said, “I will be at Thursday’s hearing because I feel the information given to the residents at the December 5th hearing was not accurate. We feel that the main problems are not rain and we feel that there has been more than 400 violations in 7 years. We feel that ADEM has discriminating against us by allowing them (Sentell) to mismanage the previous $4.8 Million USDA grant project. Will ADEM and Sentell be held responsible for its past failures? Are ADEM and Sentell going to properly manage this project? What’s going to happen now? We have NO idea what ADEM, Sentell, and the City are planning but we do have our own ideas. Members of the Black Belt Citizens groups requests the following:
- that the City fix its flow meters;
- no increases to water or sewer rates;
- no shutoffs to public water or sewer;
- that the City builds a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant;
- that responsible industries pay for their fare share of this new treatment plant;
- an investigation and accounting for the $4.8 Million USDA project;
- that the City replace Sentell and hold them responsible;
- hire a new engineer based on a town-hall decision-making process.