DeKalb Demolishes Home At ‘Ground Zero’ Site To Begin Sewer Spill Fixes

DeKalb takes major action to stop repeated sewer spills with the purchase of Melanie Court to repair sewer pipes and end future spills.














The Decatur home at 1615 Melanie Court was demolished this week. The site has the most sanitary sewer spills in DeKalb County. There have been 22 reported spills since 2014, according to the county.

CREDIT ROXANNE SCOTT / WABE


“We really want to apologize for any inconvenience you or your neighbors may have suffered over the years,” Thurmond said on behalf of the county.

Dust and the smell of wood filled the air as 1615 Melanie Court was destroyed.

DeKalb County demolished the Decatur home this week. The site is described as ground zero for sewage spills.


Michael Thurmond, DeKalb CEO, says the county suffers from aging infrastructure. But the destruction of the house signals a turn. “This is a new day in DeKalb County,” he said.


The site has the most sanitary sewer spills in the county. There have been 22 reported spills since 2014, according to the county.


The nearly $11 million project includes repairing sewer pipes. The Melanie Court Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project will take part in three phrases. The first phase was completed earlier this year.


Mike Breedlove lives up the street from the house. While we hate to see a house that someone is not living there, it’s good to see that this problem is being mitigated,” he said.


“We really want to apologize for any inconvenience you or your neighbors may have suffered over the years,” Thurmond said on behalf of the county.


DeKalb is under a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to repair its sewage problems by June 2020.



Jacqueline Echols, board president of the South River Watershed Alliance, says the county has a long way to go when it comes to fixing spills, often caused by heavy rains. She says the county needs to do more than tear down a house. “I’m sorry. It just doesn’t suggest to me that the county is still serious,” she said of the demolition.


Echols says DeKalb will not meet the June deadline of the consent decree.


“For the past 10 years up until now, not much has been done,” she said.

The alliance sued the county last month saying DeKalb is in violation of the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit says there have been more than 800 spills in the county since 2014.

Repairs at the Melanie Court site are expected to be completed by December 2020.

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