“Is that too much to ask living in a developed world, in a world class city?” he said. “We bought this house because it’s across the street from a beautiful park where you can watch your kids play. But most of the time, we don’t feel comfortable letting our kids play there.”
City officials say the park and playground rests in a flood plain, leading to the problems. Watershed attempted to reduce the number of sewage spills by building a 10-million-gallon wastewater storage tank near Cheshire Bridge and Liddell Drive in recent years. They believe the area will benefit from improvements DeKalb County is making to its sewer system, as well.
Watershed officials are considering whether to raise manholes to reduce the pressure that comes from heavy rain events. What’s more, water and parks leaders will discuss whether to relocate the playground.
“We’re taking it very seriously. This is about community health and safety,” said Watershed spokeswoman Lillian Govus. “There is no question about the seriousness with which we’re taking it.”
Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd was dismayed at the images of children playing in sloppy soil, noting: “We cannot accept anybody being contaminated: our kids, anyone.”
Councilwoman Mary Norwood, backed by Council members, Felicia Moore and Andre Dickens, is behind legislation that calls on Reed’s administration to address the Memorial Park problem and report back within 90 days. The resolution was approved by the utilities committee — after heavy debate over the “overflows” versus “discharge” issue — and heads to the full council for consideration.
Even if the spills are not overflows — the worst type of contamination that can trigger all kinds of penalties — Norwood says it’s a public health hazard.
“I don’t care what you call it,” she said. “I want it out of our communities.”