Nine African-American residents of Rochelle, Georgia, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against the city for discharging raw sewage on their property for decades and violating the U.S. Clean Water Act, according to Reuters.
Earlier this year, the town made headlines for still holding racially segregated proms as white and Black citizens continue to be divided by a railroad track that runs through Rochelle. The lawsuit states that the city has replaced the sewage system on the southern side of town where Whites live, but let urgent repairs "lag on the African-American side."
"The sewage system is in disrepair and the problem is happening to the African-American community and not to the white folks on the other side of the tracks. The Clean Water Act provides that all people have clean water," plaintiffs' attorney Alisa Coe explained in a phone interview with Reuters.
Sewage overflows occur every three or four months, the suit said, and when they do, plaintiffs have to bury the waste, toilet paper and other substances.
Raw sewage also routinely flows out of city-owned manholes and broken pipes into a drainage ditch on the city's north side and into Mill Creek, formerly a fishing spot that is now too contaminated for any recreational activities, the suit said.
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