Sewage concerns overtakes Tega Cay Council meeting agenda

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJanuary 22, 2014 

— More than 100 residents turned out for a Tega Cay City Council meeting to talk sewage.

“We are disgusted, embarrassed and outraged,” said resident Pam Gibbes Smith, speaking on behalf of a dozen others.

Residents filled Council chambers for the Jan. 21 meeting beyond seating capacity to ask or demand a response for the more than 243,000 gallons of wastewater spilled by Tega Cay Water Service since late December. Some asked Council to buy out the private utility. Some wanted legal action. All wanted results.

“The pollution of Lake Wylie has gone on too long, and it’s gotten worse,” resident Ceil Runde said.

One resident began collecting signatures for legal action. One called for Council to expend “no energy or resources” elsewhere until members resolve the utility issue. Many asked for the city to purchase the system and root out the company.

City Manager Charlie Funderburk called the recent spills “inexcusable” but also said the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and Public Service Commission are the ones with regulatory authority. Two city engineers are studying the utility, one with a forensics analysis and the other an appraisal.

Funderburk said talks toward a purchase have been on since October, but the price will have to make sense when the engineer reports come back in coming weeks.

“Staff and consultants are giving this our full attention,” Funderburk said.

Some residents asked that the city not buy the utility, saying too much upkeep is needed. They wanted options to connect homes outside of the existing pipes. Linda Stevenson, a leader with the Tega Cay Water Citizen Advisory Council, asked Council to be careful if it does choose to purchase Tega Cay Water Service since considerable investment into the system would follow.

“It’s a very big expense for a piece of junk,” she said.

Beyond the sewage

After about an hour of public comment on Tega Cay Water Service, city leaders spent little time moving forward several major projects.

Council unanimously approved the first reading to annex Cameron Creek just north of Stonecrest. Council also approved an infrastructure agreement for the project with builder M/I Homes.

Cameron Creek is eight parcels at about 75 acres on Hwy. 160 West just beside the city’s Walmart. Included is the former goat farm property that was one of the lone remaining agricultural sites on that stretch of highway. During county approvals last year, plans were given for 400 residences at Cameron Creek. About half would be single-family, half apartments.

Council also passed first reading to sell a city-owned lot at 12073 Marsh Hen Lane. The property would be sold for $30,000.

John Marks •  803-547-2353

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