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JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot
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JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot

JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot
Photo Credit: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
After days of heavy rain, a Chattahoochee River overflow area is filled with water along Riverview Road in Mableton on Dec. 30, 2018.  

JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot

A pump failure on New Year’s Eve at a Cobb County water treatment plant was still causing the overflow of sewage into one of the Chattahoochee River’s main tributaries Wednesday afternoon.

A mixture of rainwater, creek water and untreated wastewater continues to overflow into Nickajack Creek just south of Discovery Boulevard, said county spokesman Ross Cavitt. But, he said, the county’s drinking water is safe.

Lewis Hays, a compliance manager with the state’s watershed protection group, said pump systems have two areas: a dry side where electrical components are kept and a wet side from where the water is pulled.

He said the dry area of the pump at the South Cobb Water Reclamation Facility somehow got water inside it and this caused the pump to fail.

Cavitt said authorities don’t know how that happened and won’t know until they remove water from the facility.


READPlant manager allegedly ordered chemicals be washed into Chattahoochee


Cavitt said the land affected by the overflow is owned by the county and fairly remote, but workers are posting warning signs and closing nearby trails.

Officials with neither the county nor the state seem to know how much sewage has been spilled.

“With all the rain, it’ll be difficult to come up with an exact estimate, but they’ll make a guess based on what they saw of the overflow at the manholes,” said Hays, whose agency will be investigating the spill.

What they do know is that the situation wouldn’t be as bad if metro Atlanta wasn’t already saturated.

The National Weather Service deemed 2018 one of the wettest years metro Atlanta has ever had, with more than 65 inches of rain. In the soaking run-up to the end of year celebration, meteorologists predicted up to six inches of rain. 

Cavitt said back-up systems were in place, “but they were taken out in the incident.”

He said it is too early to determine how much this will cost the county.

For years, spills have caused large fines for governments throughout the metro area, the worst being in DeKalb County and the city of Atlanta.

Cobb County Government
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JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot

Cobb County Government

After more than 147 million gallons of wastewater spilled into the Chattahoochee in the five years prior to 2016, Atlanta got its initial approval to pay $378,000 in fines to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. 

DeKalb was fined $294,000 in 2017 for not only failing to uphold federal standards but also not reporting 48 sewage spills between 2012 and 2016. DeKalb county has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to improving its deteriorating sewage system.


When too little rain caused a problemCobb hopes Hurricane Florence can help rid 400K people of stinky water


Previous reporting by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicates Gwinnett and Cobb counties believe newer systems and routine maintenance have saved them from chronic spills.

Cobb is taking this one seriously.

“It will be all-hands-on-deck until we can address the situation and figure out what caused the problem,” Cobb commission chairman Mike Boyce said Wednesday in a news release.

Cobb has had to ask other municipalities, including one in South Florida, for extra pumps to clear the clogged pipes at the water treatment plant and the swollen manholes.


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JUST IN: Unknown amount of sewage overflows into Chattahoochee River offshoot

Photo Credit: www.accessatlanta.com
Days after a sewage backup sent inches of contaminated water into two homes, owners and tenants are fighting the county to get help cleadning and repairing the damage.

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News

  • An emotional image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a woman at a mosque in the wake of the mass shootings in Christchurch was projected on the world’s tallest building, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. >> Read more trending news  Ardern's face was projected onto the 163-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai on Friday, CNN reported. Photographer Hagen Hopkins of Wellington, New Zealand, snapped a picture of Ardern embracing a woman at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington, the Morning Herald reported. That image was shown on the skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates, along with the Arabic word “salam” and its English translation, “peace.”  UAF Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed expressed thanks to Ardern on Twitter for her actions after the March 15 mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people. >> Photos: Mass casualties reported in New Zealand mosque shootings 'Thank you PM @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world,' Mohammed wrote.
  • A thief pretending to have a gun tied up a manager of a New York City restaurant and then stole $8,000, WCBS reported. >> Read more trending news  The incident happened Friday at 1 a.m. at the Knickerbocker Grill in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan, the television station reported. Police said the suspect entered the restaurant through a side door and encountered the 62-year-old manager in the basement, WNBC reported. The suspect showed the manager what looked like a gun and then tied up the man’s wrists and feet with duct tape before stealing the money, WCBS reported. A surveillance camera caught a partial image of the suspect, the television station reported.
  • A Girl Scout selling cookies outside a Houston grocery store was robbed by a man Saturday night, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Gloria Bejarano said her daughter, Maya Bejarano, was selling cookies in front of a Kroger store, the television station reported. Maya was preparing an order for the suspect when he allegedly grabbed the bag containing money the Girl Scout had collected. 'He had come by once to say 'I'm interested in some cookies and I'll be right back,' so he was already kind of scoping us out to see where everything was and what kind of opportunity he had,' Gloria Bejarano told KTRK.  Maya told the television station she was shaken up by the incident, but was gratified because several Kroger employees donated money to offset her loss. In a statement, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto said it was “saddened” to hear about the robbery. “We were saddened to hear about this incident and are incredibly grateful that no one was hurt,” the statement said. “We are also thankful for the outpouring of support the troop has received from members of the community.
  • As you age, cognitive health is key. According to a new report, there are foods that can keep your brain in tiptop shape at any age. >> Read more trending news  Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine recently completed a study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, to determine the association between mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mushrooms.  MCI is defined as “the stage between the cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia,” the authors said in a statement. People with MCI may exhibit memory loss and forgetfulness or have trouble with their language, attention and visual perception abilities.  For the assessment, the team examined 600 Chinese adults, over the age of 60, for six years. They tracked their diets, conducted interviews and administered standard neuropsychological tests, which measures a person’s cognitive abilities. >> Related: Sleep deprivation could cause the brain to eat itself After analyzing the results, they found eating mushrooms proved to be beneficial. In fact, those who consume more than two standard portions of mushrooms weekly may have a 50 percent reduced chance of having MCI. A portion was defined as three quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms. “This correlation is surprising and encouraging. It seems that a commonly available single ingredient could have a dramatic effect on cognitive decline,” co-author Feng Lei said. They noted six mushrooms in the study: golden, oyster, shiitake, white button, dried and canned mushrooms. However, they said other types may also have positive effects. The scientists believe there is a specific compound in all mushroom varieties that reduce the prevalence of MCI.  “We’re very interested in a compound called ergothioneine (ET),” he said. “ET is a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which humans are unable to synthesize on their own. But it can be obtained from dietary sources, one of the main ones being mushrooms.” >> Related: Mushrooms may fight off aging, study says The analysts said other compounds in mushrooms may also be advantageous.  The team now plans to test the effects of the pure compound of ET and other plant-based ingredients. They hope to identify other foods that could be linked with healthy brain aging and reduced risk of age-related conditions. 
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered the results of an investigation into possible collusion in the 2016 presidential election to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, ending a two-year saga that, at times, pitted the president against his own Justice Department.  >> Read more trending news  On Sunday, the Department of Justice delivered a summary to the House Judiciary Committee.  >> Barr: Mueller found no evidence of Trump-Russia conspiracy Update 10:25 p.m. EDT March 24: President Donald Trump was at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, when he first learned the details of what Attorney General William Barr said in his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report for Congress, according to the Associated Press. The AP cited White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, who briefed reporters aboard Air Force One as the president was flying back to Washington. “This is very good,” Gidley said the president told him. The president watched TV in his office aboard Air Force One and made phone calls according to CNN, which described the atmosphere during the flight as “jovial.” Update 8:25 p.m. EDT March 24: Vice President Mike Pence weighed in on Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report Sunday, issuing a statement calling the report “a total vindication of the President of the United States.” “After two years of investigation, and reckless accusations by many Democrats and members of the media, the Special Counsel has confirmed what President Trump said (all) along; there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election,” Pence said. “This total vindication of the President of the United States and our campaign should be welcomed by every American who cherishes the truth and the integrity of our elections,” he said. Update 7:45 p.m. EDT March 24: Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary on the Mueller report “inadequate.” Feinstein said in a statement Sunday that Barr’s summary “demonstrates why Congress needs to obtain the full report and underlying evidence.” She also said she’ll call on Barr to release the whole report and underlying material to Congress for proper Congressional oversight of the investigation. Feinstein said Barr was obviously biased in his summary of the report. “Mueller elected to describe the facts, leaving it to Attorney General Barr to decide whether the president committed a crime. However, months ahead of his nomination,  Barr wrote a 19-page memo concluding the president couldn’t commit obstruction, so it’s no surprise he reached the same conclusion now,” she said in the statement. Update 7:00 p.m. EDT March 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement on Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s report. Pelosi and Schumer said Barr’s letter “raises as many questions as it answers.” The pair are calling for the Justice Department to release the full report. “The fact that Special Counsel Mueller’s report does not exonerate the president on a charge as serious as obstruction of justice demonstrates how urgent it is that the full report and underlying documentation be made public,” Schumer said on social media. The statement calls into question Barr’s ability to be objective about the Mueller report. “Given Mr. Barr’s public record of bias against the Special Counsel’s inquiry, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report,” according to Pelosi and Schumer’s statement. “And most obviously, for the president to say he is completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of Mr. Mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility,” the statement said. Update 6:00 p.m. EDT March 24: The Mueller report is divided into two parts, according to the summary Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress Sunday. The first part of the report describes the Mueller team’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and outlines Russia’s attempts to influence the election, including the crimes committed by people associated with the Russian government, Barr said. A primary focus for the Mueller team was whether any Americans, and specifically associates of President Donald Trump, worked with the Russians in interfering with the election, which would be a federal crime. “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” according to the Mueller report. >> Related: Mueller report: Trump claims 'Complete and Total’ exoneration The second part of the report, according to Barr’s summary, focuses on whether Trump obstructed justice.  The Mueller report leaves “unresolved whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction,” Barr said in his summary. “While the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” on obstruction allegations, Barr said. Mueller left a decision on obstruction of justice charges against Trump to the Justice Department. Barr confirmed he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided that Trump’s conduct did not constitute a crime. >> Related: What is in the Mueller report? Update 5:20 p.m. EDT March 24: The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, responded to President Donald Trump’s statement Sunday afternoon that the Mueller report offered him “complete and total exoneration.” Nadler disputed Trump’s characterization of the report, clarifying what Mueller actually said in the report. “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Nadler said Nadler also confirmed his plan to call Attorney General William Barr to testify before the committee. “In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before (the House Judiciary Committee) in the near future, Nadler said on Twitter. Update 5:10 p.m. EDT March 24: Attorney General William Barr detailed the resources special prosecutor Robert Mueller used during his two-year investigation in his summary of the report to Congress. Barr said the Mueller team “employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.” Barr said Mueller’s report also does not recommend any further indictments. Update 4:50 p.m. EDT March 24: President Donald Trump and members of his administration feel vindicated by the Mueller report. Trump just sent his first tweet on the report since Robert Mueller sent it to the Justice Department on Friday. “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!,” the president wrote. His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued this statement after Attorney General William Barr sent a summary of Mueller’s report to Congress Sunday afternoon. 'The Special Counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. AG Barr and DAG Rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States.” Update 4:15 p.m. EDT March 24: The summary included these points: -The investigation by special prosecutor Robert Mueller did not find President Donald Trump or any of his campaign team coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a summary Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress Sunday. -The probe also did not find sufficient evidence that the president illegally obstructed justice, but the Mueller team stopped short of exonerating the president, according to The Associated Press.  -Barr’s summary said Mueller did not reach any conclusions on the president’s conduct. -Barr also said in the summary that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not consider constitutional questions relating to criminal charges against a sitting president in reaching their conclusion, the AP reported. UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EDT March 24: Rep. Jerry Nadler said the Department of Justice issued a letter saying it is “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgement” in terms of the findings in the report. Related: What is in the Mueller report? Nadler tweeted quotes from the letter, which can be read in full here. UPDATE March 24 3:10 p.m. EDT: Congress has been told to expect a Mueller report summary with in the hour, The Associated Press reported, according to two unnamed sources familiar with plans from the Justice Department. UPDATE 2:30 p.m. EDT: President Donald Trump has been relatively quiet leading up to the release of the report, according to The Associated Press. Sources not authorized to speak publicly claim Trump is relieved no new indictments have come from the probe. The AP reported that Trump has been in Palm Beach, Florida, over the weekend, golfing and spending time with family. He’s also been less engaged on Twitter, only posting “Good Morning, Have A Great Day!” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Sunday morning. UPDATE 9 p.m. EDT March 23:  Attorney General William Barr scoured special counsel Robert Mueller’s confidential report on the Russia investigation with his advisers Saturday, deciding how much Congress and the American public will get to see about the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Moscow’s efforts to elect him, according to The Associated Press. Barr was on pace to release his first summary of Mueller’s findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said. UPDATE 1:50 p.m. EDT March 23: Congress will not receive a summary of Mueller’s findings  Saturday, multiple media outlets have reported. The Washington Post cited a “senior Justice Department official” for this information, while Politico tweeted that “two sources familiar with the discussion” confirmed the news. President Trump flew Friday to his Mar-a-Lago resort with senior White House officials and lawyers, The Washington Post reported. Original report: The delivery of the report to Barr officially concludes the probe that has cast a shadow over the Trump administration from its earliest days. >> Read more trending news  Trump, who flew to Florida on Friday, has not yet commented on the report. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the White House would not be seeing the report -- at least not for now. Barr, in a one-page letter, told Congressional leaders he would be able to advise them of the “principal conclusions” of the report as soon as this weekend. In the letter, Barr confirmed that there was no requests made by Mueller to take a specific action – such as subpoenaing a witness – that was not granted by the DOJ. “There were no such instances during the Special Counsel’s investigation.' Related: Read the letter William Barr sent to members of Congress It is up to Barr how much of the report Congress or the public will be able to see. Trump has said he would not care if the report was released to the public. According to an anonymous DOJ source, there will be no further indictments born out of the investigation, meaning Mueller’s work is done. Related: Who has Robert Mueller already indicted in his investigation? Since the investigation began in May of 2017, Mueller’s team of prosecutors has indicted or accepted plea deals from 35 people. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, issued a joint statement, saying “it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. . . . The American people have a right to the truth.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Three teens were injured after the car they were driving in crashed into multiple trees, splitting the car in half and ejecting the teens from the vehicle, investigators said. >> Read more trending news  Three people, all age 17, were taken to the hospital after the crash Sunday night around 5:30 p.m., Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Warren Melerine said. The car was traveling northbound when the driver overcorrected and swerved to miss a car traveling southbound at the crest of the hill on Wright Puthoff Road near Fort Loramie, lost control and went off the west side of the roadway, said Melerine. The driver then struck three trees before the car split in half, ejecting all three teens. One male front-seat passenger was taken by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital, and the male driver and female rear passenger were taken to Wilson Memorial Hospital, Melerine said. The severity of their injuries is unknown at this time. The three teens were not believed to be wearing seat belts, and weather may have played a factor in the crash. This crash is under investigation by Shelby County deputies.