Grand Bay has become Mobile’s toilet.

At least that’s what some residents around the rural area of west Mobile County are saying.

For two decades, things flushed down toilets in Mobile have ended up in the Grand Bay area. But Mobile’s sewage isn’t sent there for treatment.

 Instead, the solid matter from hundreds of thousands of daily flushes in Mobile is processed and collected each day and carted to Grand Bay via 18-wheeler.

There, the sludge is spread onto farm fields as a fertilizer made of human waste. Last year, 78 million pounds’ worth of sludge was spread onto fields in Grand Bay, according to records from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Just thinking about the process sickens some people.

Try living next to one of the fields, say Grand Bay residents. The sludge smells unmistakably like sewage, according to both residents and sewer system officials.

“It smells so bad outside my door, you can’t go outside,” said Stacy Thornton, describing the smell of sun-baked human waste. “It smells like something dead and decaying. People come over to visit and say, ‘Oh, my gosh! What is that horrible smell?’ My property value is gone. Who would buy it? ”

But Thornton and other residents are also worried about their health…

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