EPA serves warrants at two Dothan wastewater treatment plants

DOTHAN, AL - Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz issued a statement Thursday morning regarding the presence of the Environmental Protection Agency at the City's wastewater treatment plants.

Schmitz said Federal agents with the EPA served a search warrant at the City of Dothan's Little Choctawhatchee Wastewater Treatment Plant around 8:30am Thursday. The gates were locked and no one was allowed to leave or enter the site.

Schmitz says there has been no explanation provided by the Federal agents, adding that the City has also been informed that a search warrant was also served at Beaver Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Dothan's mayor says he assumes the search warrant is being executed in relation to the ongoing investigation and negotiations concerning permit violations at the Beaver Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Over the past months, the City has been discussing these issues with the EPA and ADEM, but Schmitz says the City has, to the best of its ability, provided all information requested.

"Up until today, we felt that we were well on our way to resolving these issues with the EPA," Mayor Schmitz wrote.

In 2005, the City began a process to solve the permit violations at Beaver Creek. This action included a Capital Project totaling over $40 million that started in the Fall of 2009. I would like to point out that this project was under construction prior to the involvement of the EPA. The current project involves expansion of the Little Choctawhatchee Wastewater Treatment Plant, a major sewer trunk line from Beaver Creek Wastewater Treatment Plan to the Little Choctawhatchee Plant, and the decommission of the Beaver Creek Plant.

Schmitz said the City will continue to cooperate with the EPA. "We are also committed to doing everything within our power to protect the environment and follow environmental rules and regulations in the operation of our sewer systems."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Dothan Mayor's Office