Supervisors ponder county sewer ordinance

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Some after-the-fact measures are in place to address faultysewage systems, but front-end efforts are better at preventingpotential problems, a state health department official told LincolnCounty supervisors Monday.

Ralph Turnbo, director of the Division of On-Site Waste Water,explained the procedure in which residents are approved forhousehold sewage treatment systems, such as septic tanks, and whatactions can be taken if there are problems. Several Lincoln Countyresidents have asked supervisors to consider a county wide wastewater ordinance.

“Your front end enforcement and recommendations are always thebest,” Turnbo said.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Currently, Turnbo said, people looking to locate a new home filea notice of intent with the health department. A health departmentofficial conducts a site and soil survey and then recommends anacceptable treatment system for the property.

However, Turnbo said there is no requirement for finalinspection unless one is called for in water association rules orif there is a county ordinance.

Water association officials present Monday indicated theyrequired only the notice of intent to provide a water connection toa home site. A map Turnbo presented showed only Adams and Copiahcounties with waste water ordinances in southwest Mississippi,although Pike County supervisors were expected to vote on anordinance Monday.

Citizens with complaints about a neighbor’s waste waterdischarge may file a complaint with the health department. Turnbosaid an investigation is conducted the property owner given 30 daysto repair their system or the health department may take them tocourt

Private legal action may also be pursued, officials said.

Turnbo said the health department officials would work with thecounty if supervisors enacted an ordinance that includes aprovision for a final inspection. Bob Allen, supervisors’ attorney,was reviewing the Adams and Copiah counties ordinances in an effortto tailor something for Lincoln County.

“I think we need an ordinance,” said District 1 Supervisor CliffGivens. “You’re always going to make some people mad when you dosomething like this, but I think you’re going make more happy thanyou would mad.”

Givens said an ordinance would add “red tape” to the homedevelopment process. However, he said it would also address mobilehomes that locate in a place for a short time and then move.

“If they’re planning on staying, they probably wouldn’t mind thered tape,” Givens said.

District 4 Supervisor W.D. “Doug” Moak spoke about the ordinancepossibly preventing electric utility connection until a finalinspection is made on a property.

“An ordinance would help people in the planning process, too,”Moak said.

An inspection could show that a person does not have sufficientproperty for the type of treatment system recommended. Turnbo saidthere are about 12 systems, including septic tanks, for treatingsewer discharge.

“Your front end efforts are always best. for the propertyowners, neighbors and the environment,” Turnbo said.

Supervisors tabled the discussion to give Allen time to studythe other counties’ ordinances. Almon Brister, who spoke tosupervisors about the ordinance at their last meeting, was hopefulthat the board will act quickly on the proposal.

“If they’ll go ahead, get this thing set so it’ll startprotecting…I got no complaints,” Brister said.

In other business Monday, Lincoln County Public Library DirectorHenry Ledet updated supervisors on the library’s expansionproject.

Ledet complimented Paul Jackson and Son contractors and theirwillingness to work with library officials. However, he said theproject is taking longer to finish and likely will go beyond thetargeted mid-April completion date.

“Now it looks like it will be May or June,” Ledet said,mentioning some problems getting aluminum for exterior doors andwindows and sheet rock concerns.

The project is about $50,000 over in costs, but Ledet said thathad been covered with donations to the library. Also, the libraryhas been approved for a $50,000 state grant to furnish the libraryand officials are working on getting matching funds now.

With the success of Lincoln County Jail inmates washing thegovernment complex, Ledet requested their assistance at thelibrary. The director said the building is dirty and in need of acleaning.

“It doesn’t look good,” Ledet said.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop said the major cost involved withthe cleaning work is the $750 a week rental of a lift to cleanupper portions of the building walls. Officials said the librarywork could be done with scaffolds.

Sheriff Lynn Boyte said he had an open mind about the request,but he also had concerns about allowing the inmates to work awayfrom the jail. He said somebody may have an ax to grind with aninmate and they would need supervision.

“Somebody just needs to be there with them,” Boyte said.