Read the Documents
Let us show you here in black and white, just what the situation IS with New Albany and the EPA. It ain't good, and they ain't kiddin'. More importantly, it must be fixed. Environmentally, New Albany really is a real shit-town.
(click on images to enlarge)
The problems with the sewers, and the ripple effect of those problems to future growth, is no less urgent than the Clean-Up New Albany efforts of Code Enforcement meant to rid our City of the eyesores and dangerous conditions of dilapidated property that contributes significantly to the "perceptions" of our community. The biggest difference would be that the sewer problems actually pose a threat to our individual health and well-being, which is put in jeopardy every time it rains.
We'll grant you that there is indeed a part of us that is "mad-as-hell", and NOT going to pay for it! Why should we pay them for dragging their feet and putting us at risk, refusing to comply with the Clean Water Act and incurring more cost?
However, to use some familiar logic, the longer we put this off, the more expensive it's going to be. Still, it simply MUST be done. Especially if you want to be forward-thinking, or if you're at all concerned about the future prospects for New Albany. Under current conditions, we are optimistically estimating a minimum of 4-5 years out before we are out from under any EPA restrictions.
The first document (above) shows the City's agreement with the EPA dated Feb. 2006, and noting staged disbursement of sewer credits based on certain repairs being completed, and an oversight period of one year.
And, here's page 2 of that agreement:
Here, they explain quite well what the problems and concerns are, and make particular note of several large overflows. One as large as 98,000 gallons.
It also remarks on the two projects, the Robert E. Lee lift and the bar screen, that MUST be repaired for release of credits. We know that early bids for the bar screen project alone were over $700K, and the Robert E. Lee project is expected to be about $2 million.
We also took note of the mention of a letter sent by the EPA in 2004, Garner's first year, expressing concerns with the delays of one of these projects. So, there's no saying he didn't know this was a pressing matter. He simply chose to ignore it while he pursued more "rewarding" ventures..
However, we find the real meat of this issue in the final page, which is repeated in the "new" consent decree, verbatim.
"The City shall not permit any new industrial, commercial, or residential developments that would have the effect of adding at any particular connection point flows to or exceeding 50 houses or 15,500 gpd (gallons per day) at full buildout or in the aggregate unless the City first receives approval from EPA. The City shall submit to the EPA under Part VII of the Amended Consent Decree a report certified as true and complete by a professional engineer (NO, Chaz Hunter doesn't qualify) documenting that the development at full buildout is not expected to cause any capacity relate bypasses or overflows in the collection system."
Here's some interesting info: The hotly contested Daisy Lane development would require 48,000 credits at full buildout. Did anyone even ASK if they had sewer credits? Or, is that why our City's Sewer Board Attorney, Mr. Greg Fifer, is their attorney? How where they planning on getting around that one? It's still applicable.
Well, we have at least 3 more documents we want to get up here for you to look at, but we are going to break here for now and hope you folks will avail yourselves of the opportunity to read the EPA letters for yourself.
Our next series will show how Garner and the rest of the Sewer Board opted to drop Georgetown, as we predicted, and in return for lessening the load on the system, wrangled 150,000 sewer credits in advance out of the EPA. Oh, but there are very critical changes in the amended, amended Consent Decree in exchange.
(we also predicted they would turn right around and hike our rates to make up the dif in rate payers from G-Town)
We are now obligated to have the bar screen repairs done by September this year, or we face penalties. We must have the Robert E. Lee project finished by April of next year, or pay penalties.
We must now spend $500K annually instead of the previous $270K, and the oversight period after all repairs and telvisioning the lines will now be 2 years instead of one. Some great deal we're working on here. Thanks a lot Garner.
Think about it folks.
This City must stop getting the horse before the cart and not getting anywhere.
We must put our resources where they will serve us best in the long term, and still keep us moving in the short term.
It's far past time to make smart decisions about smart growth, as well as pure sustainability. We must postpone major expenditures until we deal with this matter and know better about where we stand financially with funds for these sewer repairs, as well as all other departments.
Would you go have a luxury in-ground heated swimming pool installed in your yard if you knew your car was about to fall apart? Or would you take care of the car situation before you made any firm decisions about that swimming pool?
After all, everything relies on you having transportation.