Tennessee River

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed 3M in connection to discharges from a chemical plant in northern Alabama.

WHNT-TV reports the discharges may not have complied with federal permit requirements.

3M CEO Michael Roman announced the subpoena during an investor conference call Tuesday. The Minnesota-based company has faced lawsuits and public scrutiny last year over alleged chemical discharges from the 3M plant in Decatur into the Tennessee River. 3M halted some work at the plant last year for environmental reasons.

tva.com / Tennesee Valley Authority

The Tennessee Valley Authority says the road across a north Alabama dam will be closed for as long as 10 months.

The federal utility says crews are performing routine maintenance work on three generators at the 95-year-old Wilson Dam in Florence. So the road atop the dam will be shut down through late this year for safety reasons.

The move eliminates the easternmost route across the Tennessee River at Florence, but two other bridges will remain open for traffic.

Sewage spill
Nelson Brooke / Black Warrior Riverkeeper

An Alabama utility company has disclosed that more than 800,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled from a plant during a storm, eventually reaching the Tennessee River.

The Decatur Daily reports disclosures filed by Decatur Utilities with the state Environmental Department reveal that about 8 million gallons of raw sewage have escaped the company's system this year. The largest discharge happened last week when rain overwhelmed old pipes and sewage flowed from a manhole for days.


SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a Tennessee man died when his canoe capsized on an Alabama river.

News outlets report that the accident occurred Friday evening near Scottsboro on the Tennessee River.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says 51-year-old Gregory Lawson from Hixon, Tennessee was killed when the canoe capsized.

A woman with Lawson was able to swim to shore for help.

State authorities said Saturday that the incident remains under investigation.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the state's environmental agency needs to do a better job responding to chemical releases into the Tennessee River in north Alabama.

Responding to media reports that 3M released pollution for years without state intervention or disclosure, Ivey told reporters in Huntsville on Wednesday that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management needs to present solutions to the problem.

There have been several reports of alligators in north Alabama in recent weeks, including in the Tennessee River. 

The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office reported that an alligator was recently spotted by a man walking on a county road.

In Decatur, parks and recreation officials warned residents to be on alert after a gator was spotted near walking trails at Point Mallard State Park.

Reports of sightings in the Tennessee River are not unprecedented.

Associated Press

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (AP) — The Tennessee River and other streams are lowering in hard-hit areas of north Alabama after days of flooding.

The National Weather Service says the Tennessee has crested throughout the region, even though the water is still high in many areas.

Tornado Death Confirmed in Columbus, MS

Feb 24, 2019
Columbus tornado
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Weekend storms raked parts of the Southeast, leaving deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado smashed into a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and drenching rains fed a rising flood threat.

A woman was killed when a tornado hit Columbus, Mississippi, according to officials.

Columbus Mayor Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband were renovating a house Saturday evening, and when the husband went to get them something to eat, the building collapsed and killed her.

"Where Does Your Water Come From?"

Oct 10, 2017
^0 inch pipelines carry water from Big Creek Lake to water treatment plants in Mobile

The U.S. Supreme Court says it will hear arguments regarding the on-going water war involving Alabama. The specific case is between Florida, and Georgia, but it includes the river basin flowing through Alabama. The APR news team spent 2015 investigating the condition of Alabama's water supply and the health of its rivers. Click below to hear that series again...

Federal Judge Approves Partial PFC Settlement

May 12, 2017

Water quality activists are weighing the benefits of a partial court settlement over water quality in the Decatur area this week. 

U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon issued the verdict authorizing a $5 million payment from chemical manufacturer Daikin America. It’s related to ongoing litigation over perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, that were manufactured around Decatur for years before they were outlawed in the U.S.

The settlement is expected to be used to set up a temporary filtration system for drinking water from the Tennessee River.

A utility in north Alabama is telling residents not to drink any tap water due to chemical contamination.

The West Morgan-East Lawrence Water Authority held a news conference in Decatur yesterday about potentially hazardous levels of two chemicals in tap water sourced from the Tennessee River.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued an advisory about the chemicals, and authority general manager Don Sims says the system's 10,000 customers shouldn't drink or cook with tap water since it contains them.


Pelicans, once an unusual site in northwest Alabama, have started to show up in greater numbers.

Floyd Sherrod, president of the Shoals Audubon Society, recalls a time about 30 years ago when a single pelican was spotted in the area and residents flocked to see it.

   Now, he said, they've become increasingly common.

   The TimesDaily reports  that fishermen and bird watchers said several of the long-billed birds are frequently seen on the Tennessee River, particularly below Wilson Dam.