Tega Cay responds to another sewage spill into Lake Wylie

news@fortmilltimes.comDecember 23, 2013 

Wastewater spill in tega cay


— An hours-long spill from a troubled wastewater site in Tega Cay has residents nearby frustrated – again.

Wastewater continued to flow into Lake Wylie Monday morning after a spill on Point Clear Drive in Tega Cay. Past overflows at the wastewater facility there prompted several nearby residents to form the Tega Cay Water Citizen Advisory Council. That group collects waterwater problem reports from customers of Tega Cay Water Service and uses the data to oppose rate increases and even the company’s operation in the city.

One member, Joyce Clark, said Monday morning the ongoing spill was a significant one.

“It’s bigger than the one this summer,” she said, referencing a rash of spills earlier in 2013.

Just before noon Monday, parent company Utilities, Inc. sent an email stating a “no swim” advisory is in effect for the area. The message stated both the city and state had been identified of the situation. No estimate on the size of the spill was given. The overflow is a result of “significant, heavy rainfall in the area,” according to the email.

Resident Tom Eisele lives right in front of the station. He said repair crews were informed about 4 a.m. and showed up two hours later. At 10:30 a.m., Eisele still hadn’t see anyone from the utility itself.

“There’s no telling how long it’s been going on,” he said.

Eisele is concerned about the environmental impact of the spill and previous ones, but also worries about a negative impact on property values. He said new pipes were put in for his and neighboring homes following past problems, but that large trucks coming in to pump out spills tear up the driveway and could harm the new pipes.

Spills in Tega Cay have been a concern to residents for years, but a spike in heavy rain and overflows during the spring and summer stirred protests and calls for action. Candidates for elected office in the city this past fall were confronted with questions about Tega Cay Water Service. Tega Cay City Council had its staff investigate options for improving service and met with residents, despite not owning the system.

In February, the utility received a 33 percent rate increase based largely on the need for improved infrastructure. The case included almost 700 protesting comments, including those of the city.

Linda Stevenson, a main organizer with the citizen advisory group, emailed around noon Monday upon hearing of the spill. She was out of town when it occurred. Stevenson expressed frustration and wondered why the city-owned Tega Cay Utility Department isn’t seeing the same problems as the privately owned Tega Cay Water Service.

“Although the company states this is due to large rainfall, I don't believe them because every sewage would be overflowing where there's a large rainfall occurring,” she wrote. “I don't think the other sewage company in Tega Cay is experiencing any problems.”

Video: Resident voices his complaint

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