Gulf of Mexico
The faint skyline of downtown Mobile can be seen from Fairhope Municipal Beach on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, in Fairhope, Ala. (John Sharp/

Coastal Alabama water: Center stage in courts and Congress

Coastal Alabama is one of the nation’s rainiest regions, a place where it’s not uncommon for municipal utilities to release eye-popping reports about sewer system overflows pouring into local waterways, then on to bays and beyond.

Health and safety are at stake, as is the reputation of the region. In June, Fairhope’s municipal beach was named as Alabama’s No. 1 dirtiest beach based on a national analysis that showed the water there being polluted 35% of the time.

“Simply put, we are the location for that (sanitary sewer) outfall,” said Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson. “We aren’t making excuses. Our piece has to be dealt with, but it won’t mean much unless everyone gets on board.”

In the past two weeks, both the legislative and judicial branches of government are weighing in. Wilson and her team with the city of Fairhope recently met with U.S. Sen. Doug Jones to discuss clean water initiatives within the Mobile Bay watershed. The meeting was sought following the negativity Fairhope received from publicity about the dirty beach report.

Read the full story here.