News4 Investigates: City well causes concern among Daleville residents

A local expert reveals the ADEM violation that could cause erosion on the land.
Imagine: Water rising, building up every day on your property with no way to stop it. That is reality for residents in Daleville because of a city-owned well.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DALEVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) -Imagine water rising around your home, building up every day on your property with no way to stop it.

That’s what residents in Daleville are dealing with because of a city-owned well draining gallons of water every day.

David Butcher first bought his home across from the well in 2017. He was hopeful for his family’s future living on the land. But that’s when, the flood gates opened.

The city owned well drains water multiple times a day, often onto his property. It leaves standing water, bugs flying, and mud piling up every day.

Butcher says reaching out to News4 was his last resort for answers. “I’m tired of getting the run around,” Butcher said, “and no answers between state, between city, between county. Everybody’s pointing the finger at everybody else.”

He first brought this issue to the City of Daleville at a council meeting in May. It was pushed to a water board meeting in July where Butcher says it was blown off, but the water still gathers day by day on Butcher’s land.

A local expert who didn’t want their identity revealed walked the land with us to give us some insight. They confirmed the drainage from the well is altering the water table. They also pointed out that the drains around the well aren’t being maintained. Plants were growing out of them, which makes it hard to properly drain water.

Keeping the drains clean is a requirement under the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Phase 2 of Minimum Stormwater Management. It’s purpose is to prevent erosion. We reached out to ADEM for additional information and a statement and extended a deadline for them twice... we never heard back.

The City of Daleville sent a third-party engineer and Orson Bullard, head of the Daleville Water Department, out to address the issue on August 14.

We pointed out the unmaintained drain next to the well. Bullard didn’t initially know if the city or county owned both drains. The Dale County Public Geographic Information System shows that the second unmaintained drain is on city owned property.

As of August 24 the drain directly in front of the well was cleared out and the one next went through an even more intense makeover having all of the vegetation cleared out and plenty of new rocks added in.

Butcher and his neighbors concern also lies with the amount of water being drained from the well each day. One day in July gallons upon gallons rushed out of the well for over 27 minutes.

Bullard and the engineer say they are looking into reducing the amount of time the well runs for.

No matter the solution or its timing, Butcher’s focus remains on his home.

“I just want my land to be safe i want my family’s land to be safe,” said Butcher, ”I want people to take accountability and fix the problem. If you screw up you screw up just own it and go on.”

We reached out to the City of Daleville for any additional comment and never received a response.

Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.