2018-10-05 / News

Richland County addresses sewer project

By Mike Cox

The October 2 Richland County Council meeting focused much energy on the Lower Richland Sewer Project. With recent rains adding to the sewage problems at three Lower Richland schools, the Richland County Council has been trying to get the sewer project back on track.

A proposal to combine sewer and water for the whole county and move forward with a planned, forward thinking system was proposed at tonight’s meeting. As is always the case, the presence of anything pertaining to this issue brings droves of people to the meeting.

State Senator Darrell Jackson was recognized before the meeting got rolling and was allowed to offer his thoughts on the project. Senator Jackson, who lives in Hopkins, said he “was in favor of the sewer proposal in Lower Richland. The future of Lower Richland depends on infrastructure.”

Jackson asked the county council to strongly consider four things in moving forward. First, address the three schools having sewage issues and being pressured by DHEC to fix their problems. Stories of above the ground raw sewage have been reported locally recently. Second, no one must be required to sign up for the county’s sewer system. Jackson also asked tap fees be reasonable, preferably waived completely. And fourth, the monthly fee needed to be reasonable.

During citizens’ input, several Lower Richland citizens spoke about the project. Helen Taylor Bradley disputed reports of sewage problems at Hopkins Elementary and Middle School, and Gadsden Elementary, saying the problem was water, and it will dissipate normally. Taylor Bradley also reminded the county her group, Lower Richland Citizens United, was still against the sewer project and wanted it to wait until the lawsuit was settled.

Lilly Randolph, Walter Stone, and Carol Eaddy asked the council to wait until all disputes are resolved before moving forward. Arnold Young said the county needed to resolve all issues and make sure the project is engineered correctly before continuing.

Jennifer Manke said she supported the “salt of the earth people who were fighting the sewer project and supporting the earth itself because this was really about development, and if the project is approved, the pristine Lower Richland area will become developed like other areas of Richland County.”

Andrea Williams said it was in the best interest of the county to have a developed sewer system. She reminded everyone the schools in the area have sewage ponds, and no one should still have sewage ponds. Robert O’Brien came to talk about the Ad Hoc Committee to address ordinances in many of the county’s subdivisions about junk cars, non maintained property, and trashy areas.

During the council’s time on the sewer system, Norman Jackson took advantage of the large crowd to tell everyone present how he had resolved this issue many months back, and if the old plan was just followed, everything else would work out.

Dalhi Myers explained at least one school had been added to the DHEC list since the old plan had begun, and she worked very hard, talking to citizens, staff members, and county engineers to resolve this issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Myers also stated, very strongly, she hadn’t talked to any developers or anyone else that might want to offer advice for personal gain. County Attorney Larry Smith also pointed out Richland County had won the lawsuit where Citizens United wanted the project stopped and said the only legal issue still unresolved is over access to some documents.

Several other council members offered ideas and asked questions, but in the end, the council agreed to let Richland County director of utilities Shahid Khan develop a plan based on principles he addressed during a work session on utilities recently and bring the results back to council for approval and or changes, including public input.

In other action, the council added six people to the Richland Library board of trustees: Lee Rambo, Yvonne Stocker, Avni Gupta-Kagan, Johnny Ray Noble, Erin Johnson, and Jennifer Ford.

Council Chair Joyce Dickerson, Vice Chair Bill Malinowski, Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Norman Jackson, Gwendolyn Kennedy, Paul Livingston, Yvonne Mc- Bride, Jim Manning, Dalhi Myers, Greg Pearce, and Seth Rose were present.

More detailed information as well as complete agendas and minutes from past meetings can be found at the Richland County website: www.rcgov.us.

Return to top