Maddox discusses water safety, missing persons

William Evans

Tuscaloosa citizens do not have to boil their water anymore.

The water and sewer department has fixed the tornado damage to East Tuscaloosa’s water distribution infrastructure, and the boil water advisory too keep citizens from drinking unclean water has been lifted, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said in a press conference Monday evening.

“Our entire water distribution system is good and solid,” he said. “Within five days of taking a massive impact, to be back at full pressure and full system, I’m very proud of the efforts of those in our water and sewer department.”

In a Tuesday morning press conference, Maddox said the city has confirmed 40 deaths and 240 missing individuals after an arduous process of compiling and verifying names on its missing persons list.

Reports of missing people continue to flow in as the city works to clear names from the missing persons list when people are located or discovered to be a duplicate of another name already on the list.

“It seems like every day we continue to get more reports,” he said. “Each one of those [reports] has to be validated. It’s going to be a slow and arduous process.”

More confirmed deaths will likely accompany the drop in the number of names on the missing persons list, Maddox said.

The central point of contact for volunteers for relief and recovery of disaster areas will be located at the McAbee Center, which is adjacent to the VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa.

“The volunteer registration center will become the main point of contact for those in the weeks ahead who want to go out into the disaster recovery zones and volunteer,” Maddox said.

The McAbee Center will help volunteers become registered, credentialed and assigned to certain tasks.

The city is using 11 search and rescue teams to uncover bodies hidden underneath the rubble, Maddox said.

Also, all the roads littered with debris in Holt have been cleared as of Tuesday morning, said W. Hardy McCollum, Tuscaloosa County probate judge.

Residents in the affected areas who own working vehicles should remove them since the city will tow all vehicles in the disaster zones, Maddox said.

Garbage drop-off points in the impacted zones will be available Saturday at Forest Lake Baptist Church, Winn-Dixie at Five Points Shopping Center, Locklear’s Dodge City at the corner of Greensboro Ave. and Tenth Ave., and Bruno’s Parking Lot adjacent to the city’s current Fire and Logistics center.

Search and rescue teams have much more territory to cover, said Ted Sexton, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff, in the Tuesday morning press conference.

“A lot of folks don’t realize how long this tornado was,” he said. “We have about another 15-20 miles beyond Eagle Cove Marina that has yet to be searched.”