Agencies investigating ‘illegal organic dump’ in Alabaster

Several agencies are working to clean up a suspected illegal dumping site near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Old Highway 31 in Alabaster. (Contributed)

Several agencies are working to clean up a suspected illegal dumping site near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Old Highway 31 in Alabaster. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Several agencies are investigating a possible ongoing “illegal organic dump site” in Alabaster, and are asking for the public’s help to identify the offending party, according to Alabaster officials.

During a March 20 interview, Alabaster City Manager George Henry said the city has received multiple reports over the past few weeks of a “horrible smell” near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Old Highway 31 just south of the South Promenade shopping center.

Henry said local residents drew attention to the smell on the “Alabaster Citizens Community Board” group on Facebook, and later reported the issue to the city using the “Report a concern” feature on Cityofalabaster.com.

After sending city employees to investigate the smell multiple times since March 11, Henry said crews discovered the source of the odor on March 19.

“Thank you for being patient. We have determined illegal dumping of organic solids has been occurring,” Henry wrote on the Citizens Community Board’s Facebook page on March 19.

When the city discovered the source of the smell, the Alabaster Fire Department’s hazardous materials unit responded to investigate the scene and begin cleanup efforts.

On March 20, Henry said a truck likely has been dumping the organic solids into a storm drain near the U.S. 31-Old Highway 31 intersection on multiple occasions. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management is working to confirm the exact type of organic solids dumped at the site, Henry said.

“It’s happened enough that the drain is clogged. This is pretty serious,” Henry said at about 10:45 a.m. on March 20, noting the situation does not present a danger to the public. “We have guys out there actively working to neutralize and deodorize it now.”

In addition to Alabaster crews, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency and ADEM also are working to clean up the site.

Henry said the Alabaster Police Department will regularly patrol the area in an attempt to locate the responsible party, and urged anyone who sees a truck parked near the intersection to call the Alabaster Police Department at 663-7401.