Monteagle: Property Owners Responsible for Sewer Pumps

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Feb. 27 meeting, the Monteagle Town Council passed on first reading, an ordinance assigning full responsibility for grinder pumps and STEP systems (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) to the property owner on new connections to the sewer system. A pump system is required only when gravity flow is not sufficient to move sewage, city engineer Travis Wilson said. By current regulations, the property owner must pay for the pump and installation, but after a two-year warranty period, the city takes over repair and maintenance. The proposed Hideaway subdivision, which will require a pump at each residence, prompted Wilson to recommend the rule change. Without the new rule, the city would become responsible for 82 pump systems if the Hideaway project moves forward.

Engineer Wilson stressed the new rule applied only to new sewer connections, not to residents using a pump system currently maintained by the city. The ordinance specifies pump requirements and brands allowed. The city can levy a fee to cover the cost of pump inspection if it chooses to do so. If the pump owner neglects to service and maintain the pump, the city can cut off water service preventing the resident from generating wastewater.

Addressing a question about whether residents needed to connect to public sewer, Alderman Nate Wilson said residents had 60 days from date of notification to connect when sewer service was available. Engineer Wilson said in cases where sewer service was not available without extending the sewer line, residents who wanted to connect to public sewer would need to pay for the line extension.

Updating the council on CCTV inspection of the sewer line, engineer Wilson said many structural flaws needed addressed to prevent I & I (inflow and infiltration of ground water into the sewer line). Appalachian Regional Planning Commission and American Recovery Plan grants will help offset the cost of the repairs. Monitoring of I &I into the Tracy City sewer line was underway, engineer Wilson said. Tracy City pays Monteagle to treat its sewage. Two meters had been installed, and Tracy City would install a “logger” at the Mountain Goat Trail pumping station. “I & I taxes sewer plant capacity. We want to see where it comes from and keep it out of our sewer lines,” explained Mayor Greg Maloof.

The board also approved a $345,200 bid for painting and rehabilitation of the city water tank, the lowest of four bids, and less than the budgeted amount. The rehab should make the tank serviceable for another 50 years, engineer Wilson said.

Responding to a resident’s request for reflectors on Laurel Lake Road to aid visibility during foggy conditions, street superintendent Keith Butner said plans called for installing reflectors following resurfacing, but supply chain delays slowed receipt of the reflectors. Half had been received and would be installed when weather allowed.

A Ridge Cliff Drive resident objected to the proposed Exit 135 rezoning to Industrial to allow for “ugly” shipping-container storage units. She insisted she did not object to industrial zoning. “The natural beauty of the area is my main concern,” she said.

Another resident asked for a “status” update on the city’s “master plan,” stressing a plan was needed to guide planning commission decisions. Maloof said the plan was in “a formative stage,” and town meetings would be held to solicit residents’ input.

Alvin Powell reported eight youth baseball teams had formed. Businesses who want to support youth baseball can purchase display banners for $165, with $100 of the price going to the program. Annual display banner renewal costs $100.

The Monteagle Easter Egg Hunt will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 1, at Hannah Pickett Park.

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