Sewer concerns top West Pelzer Council agenda

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By Stan Welch

The West Pelzer Town Council meeting agenda had just one topic Monday night. Councilman Jimmy Jeanes expressed his concerns about the lack of progress in the sewer project that has been underway in the town for some time now.

Councilman Jeanes asked Mayor Peggy Paxton for a update on the progress, if any, being made in the project, which is replacing decrepit, leaking sewer lines in the town. Mayor Paxton and Town Clerk Paula Payton informed Jeanes and the Council that some right of way (ROW) issues were causing the delay, but the town’s engineering firm was in the process of addressing those problems.

“We have I think two property owners with a problem, and Bill Dunn is redrawing whatever little bit he needs to change in the plans to take care of that,” said Paxton. “There won’t be any additional costs, since the cost of replacing the lift station is included in the project already.”

Jeanes’ concerns centered on the Spring Street lift station, which serves approximately half the town, and which has a history of overflows and other problems. Jeanes said that there is often a noticeable odor from the lift station.

“We’ve been getting a lot of smell from there,” said Jeanes, who lives nearby. “I’m worried if it runs over or something, we could have a problem. I just don’t want the town to end up paying some fine to DHEC if we have a problem.” Paxton conceded that DHEC would indeed levy a fine if that happens, but pointed out that such a problem hasn’t occurred in a “long, long time.”

The town has been under a DHEC consent order for more than a decade because leaking sewer lines collected hundreds of thousands of gallons in additional runoff during rainy periods. Those additional gallons flowed through the town’s treatment facility and were viewed by DHEC as violations of the treatment facility’s permitted capacity.

Those excesses resulted in the consent order, which essentially stopped any further growth of the town. Over the course of several years, the town was cited for permit violations on several occasions, but has since come into compliance with DHEC regulations concerning wastewater treatment.

Since the sewer project began, the first two phases have replaced many of those lines, and the ingress and infiltration problems have been largely resolved. The completion of the third phase should alleviate the problem even further.

Councilman Jeanes offered no motions concerning the matter and his concerns were received as information by the council. The motion was made to adjourn, and no other business was conducted.