Fort Mill Times

Spills have residents concerned again in Tega Cay

After another sewage overflow and word that water and sewer rates are rising, Tega Cay residents continue work to find out what can be done to improve service.

Linda Stevenson led a group of residents in opposing the recent Tega Cay Water Service application to increase rates. In mid-February the state Public Service Commission allowed for the increase of 22 percent for water, 27 percent for sewer. Stevenson compared public participation at local meetings and in Columbia, along with complaints submitted to the commission for Tega Cay’s case to a 2011 decision for fellow Utilities, Inc. subsidiary Carolina Water Service.

Tega Cay’s case had as much or more opposition, yet rates there increased while the other case was denied.

“I don’t get it,” Stevenson said.

Still, she planned to meet with city leadership last week and is in contact with federal legislators and the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, a rainy season locally means continued reminders of some of the problems residents are seeing.

Early last week Stephen White found “no swimming” signs along the cove near his home on Samoa Court.

“There was a spill on Samoa Court,” said Lindsey Evans, spokesperson for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. “There was a blockage in the customer’s sewer line where it tied to the main line. Tega Cay Water Service, they have completed sewer work at the main, so they have fixed it.”

That incident included less than 50 gallons. A separate incident on the same cove involved a discharge of water that already had been treated. No raw sewage went into the water in that incident, Evans said.

“We were notified on Feb. 26 of a sewer system overflow due to heavy rains,” she said. “No raw sewage was released and we’ve cleaned up all standing puddles and covered them with lime to help soak up any leftover water, and we’ve posted ‘no swimming’ signs around the nearby cove.”

A resident of 19 years, White wasn’t surprised to find what he did following heavy rains.

“There’s been nothing but trouble from this lift station out by my house,” he said.

White said there’s an “armada of guys” out working “near every day” to fix problems. He’s concerned because the cove is one golfers carry on the seventh hole of the city course, which creates an unseemly sight. White also is concerned with the environmental impact that the events are having on the lake.

“This is the second spill in this same cove in about two months,” he said.

Residents like Stevenson plan to continue monitoring spills and service complaints for use against the company in rate or other decisions. Hopeful that the next one might go their way.

“I just don’t understand it,” Stevenson said.