City to test well water

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Lewisburg's Water and Sewer Department will have water quality tests conducted for three households on Rock Crusher Road the utility's board decided last week after hearing from a couple living there.

"We'll let someone from TDEC (the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) pull the sample," said utility Superintendent Kenneth Carr, explaining the samples would be sent to Environmental Science Lab at Mt. Juliet for analysis.

However, that's just information gathering, and paying for the water line extension is another matter. Utility board members spoke about getting a grant from TDEC. It's an idea rooted in the anticipation that water samples will reveal contamination from an old landfill. An old, discontinued quarry at Rock Crusher Road was used as a repository for household trash until that was found to be environmentally unfriendly. The landfill was declared a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and cleanup proceeded with federal funding.

Casey and Valerie Davis met with the utility board on Thursday afternoon last week.

"The dump that used to be there is pretty nasty," Casey Davis said.

He and Valerie are living in his grandfather's house. The Davis couple is trying to deliver on their relative's desire to keep the late Virgil Lee's house in the family, the two said.

"We're trying to do whatever we can to get good water," Casey Davis said. "The water on the other side of the railroad tracks is awful."

And therein lies another obstacle: Laying water pipelines under the CSX tracks.

"Our position is that the railroad presents tremendous cost," Carr said.

Casey Davis replied that he and his wife have spoken with railroad officials who said there's "no problem" with installing a pipe under the tracks, "but we need a permit."

The permit would be to cross tracks and, if granted, it would require an annual payment.

"It's not a real big fee, but it is a charge," Carr said.

The utility superintendent pointed to another obstacle.

"It's basically one rock over there," Carr said of the geography that would increase construction costs.

Such rock also presents a problem for installation of a septic tank.

"We do sympathize with you," Carr told the couple. "There may be a possibility to extend a small line to just three houses."

The board authorized Carr to receive water samples taken by state officials and then send them off for testing to the lab normally used by the utility.

The topic was set aside until results were back.

Meanwhile, the board's attorney, Dan Whitaker, said he would finish drafting a work contract proposed for Carr and Pepper Biggers, the department's assistant superintendent, and then present it to the board.