In January 1976, my family moved into our home we had built at 1007 Palmyra Drive, Tega Cay. This was a wonderful time in our lives because we had transferred from Wilmington, Del., to come back to Lake Wylie, where I grew up. My parents owned a lake cabin on Crowder’s Creek.
However, not long after we moved into our new home, we started having problems with the manhole overflowing with sewage and water into the lake whenever during heavy rain. I was told by the developer of Tega Cay that the overflow was caused by restrictions in the drainage pipes, or due to the pump kicking off because there wasn’t enough capacity to handle the rain water. The problem got so severe, and I was tired of talking to him and showing him photos, I told the development manager that I was going to bring a bucket full of the overflow to his office and pour it on his desk.
At this point, the first action was to cap off my manhole with concrete, which only shifted the problem to the next lowest manhole at the other end of Palmyra Drive. This eliminated the problem for me for a period of time at our property but created havoc for other people. They were just putting a Band-Aid on this problem. In time the concrete weakened and the overflow problem resumed on our property.
Before and after Tega Cay was a city we’ve had this problem. During the years I have contacted whomever owned or operated the water system and have given them photos many times to show the overflow running into the lake and on my property.
At that time Tega Cay already had its name tarnished with a bankruptcy situation and other problems, I never contacted DHEC or the news channels in the earlier years, thinking the system owners would fix the problem.
Finally in 2009, I contacted DHEC because the problem wasn’t getting better and no one was trying to fix it. Ann Proctor, with DHEC, came out to see the overflow and was shocked. Not long after she got involved, the drainage pipes in my yard and along the lake toward the lift station were replaced. For a couple of years, the overflow problem was eliminated at my property, but I continued to hear the problem was occurring at other sites in Tega Cay.
Then in December, the problem was again occurring at my property and at other people’s property as well. A couple of my neighbors called the TV stations and on two occasions I was interviewed about why Lake Wylie was being contaminated from the manholes overflowing. They stood there and watched the overflow for more than an hour and filmed the manhole overflowing and put it on TV that night.
The only reason that I have stayed here through all of this is because I love Tega Cay and love living on the water, and I am a river rat at heart.
What really frustrates me and others living here is not only putting up with this sewage going into the lake, but having the price of our water raised. From not having to pay for our water, which was an incentive to buy here, to the present where I pay $90-100/month. The owners of the water system had the audacity to raise our water rates this past year again, even though we continually have these same problems. They said they needed the money to pay their employees and their taxes, but nothing was going toward fixing the overflow problems. The people of Tega Cay had heated meetings with the water system owners about them raising their rates and we tried to fight it as much as we could. They just didn’t care!
In this day and time, there should be no need for anyone to ever have to deal with this for this length of time. It is outrageous! I don’t think any of you would ever put up with this either if you were living in a community like this with a problem of this magnitude.
I am not a first time complainer to those in charge about the overflow and the smell that accompanies this problem. My wife, and many others, will no longer get in the lake in our cove or anywhere on the lake because of this problem. Our neighbors have small children and grandchildren who come visit and want to play in the water, and that is why they bought their homes here. This is a huge concern to them and to all of us living on the water, as well as those just coming to enjoy using the lake. My wife has been on the lake and personally saw sewage and toilet paper float by the boat. This is thoroughly disgusting!
The Band-Aid theory just isn’t solving anything, but only postponing the inevitable. My family and the other homeowners of the original section of Tega Cay, would appreciate your help in resolving this long time reoccurring problem. You have all the other residents of Tega Cay and other areas on the lake that get their drinking water from this lake and all the boaters and swimmers that use this lake would be happy and feel a lot safer to see this problem corrected.
We have tried everything that we as homeowners can do and look to our elected officials for help with this problem. We expect your help right away with this large situation that we have here in Tega Cay.
William S. Burns is a resident of Tega Cay.