Town, city wastewater woes flow down hill

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Repercussions from the sale of Cornersville's water and sewer system to Lewisburg continue to be felt in the small town at the south end of the county.

The sewer system was the topic of Robert Pugh's comments during Thursday's monthly meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Pugh has lived at 314 North Main St. for many years, and remembers when the city sewer was put in during the 1980s, using grant money. He said homeowners were told at that time the city would maintain the sewage lines, and the septic tanks.

Recently, Pugh said, he had his septic tank pumped out at a cost of $160, but when he brought the bill to City Hall, he was told Cornersville was no longer maintaining residents' septic tanks.

"We have sold the system to Lewisburg," Mayor Amos Davis said. "It's their responsibility."

Pugh said he spoke with Lewisburg Water and Wastewater Department Superintendent Kenneth Carr and reported "Carr told me the city still owns the tanks."

Longtime Cornersville resident John Kiser disagreed.

"The city has never owned the tanks," Kiser said. "We had nothing to do with them."

The way he sees it, tanks would be periodically pumped by the city.

"That was the big selling point: it's all being taken care of by the city," Kiser said.

"I was opposed to it at the time," he added, referring to the days when residents had to sign easements for the construction of the sewer system.

Pugh came to the meeting with copies of three ordinances referring to water and sewer service.

"There's three ordinances: 1986, 1990, and 1994," City Manager Taylor Brandon explained. "It says in multiple places that the owner is responsible."

Cornersville City Attorney Quinn Brandon Stewart, who's also a Lewisburg councilman, said she was unprepared for the controversy. Since she did not know that Pugh would be bringing it up at the meeting, she didn't have a chance to study the ordinances. She advised Davis not to give an opinion.

"I need to look at these ordinances before I give an opinion," Stewart said. "It might very well be Lewisburg's problem. We have to look at that."

Davis promised Pugh, "We'll look into it," but the mayor refused to "put a timeline on it."