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A mysterious white substance is on the pavement at the intersection of Jackson Street and Sixth Avenue Southeast. Similar markings can be seen on other sections of Sixth Avenue from Alabama 67 north to the Hudson Memorial Bridge.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
A mysterious white substance is on the pavement at the intersection of Jackson Street and Sixth Avenue Southeast. Similar markings can be seen on other sections of Sixth Avenue from Alabama 67 north to the Hudson Memorial Bridge.

Source of spills on roads remains mystery

By Evan Belanger
evanb@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

City officials say they don’t know the source of mysterious white splatters and stripes appearing on roadways throughout the Decatur area.

The white marks are on several local traffic routes, mostly in residential areas. The Daily has documented spills on Jackson Street, Somerville Road, Church Street and Point Mallard Drive Southeast, near the Point Mallard Golf Course.

Motorists also report marks on Alabama 67 and in the Indian Hills area in Southeast Decatur, and as far away as Morgan County 55 in Falkville. Some of the spills measure several feet wide and heavy traffic flow spreads marks farther.

The white markings are often in the center of a lane and the stripe continues for multiple blocks until it disappears. The marks appear heaviest at or near intersections, often thinning to a narrow mid-lane stripe.

The city’s Public Works Department could not solve the mystery.

spill2.jpg - 41778 Bytes
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
This is a closer view of the white paint on Sixth Avenue at the intersection of Jackson Street Southeast.
Julia Chenault, public works coordinator, said it is unlikely they will be able determine the source. Chenault had the city’s garbage trucks inspected for signs of leaking paint. She said results were negative, and there are no reports of paint spills by other city vehicles.

A Daily inspection of the garbage trucks confirmed the report.

Whatever the cause, Chenault said, the paint marks will remain as they are for some time. Workers attempted Tuesday to remove one of the marks with little success.

“It’s probably just going to have to wear off,” Chenault said.

Chenault also said city residents should be aware that paint and other hazardous chemicals cannot be disposed of during regular garbage pickups.

The city only accepts hazardous chemicals on the second Saturday of the month, from 9 a.m. to noon at its public works complex at Central Parkway and 14th Street Southwest.

“We’re not supposed to pick up paint during regular stops, and we don’t if we know it’s there,” she said.

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