12/07/08 — Walnut Creek facing sewer problems

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Walnut Creek facing sewer problems

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 7, 2008 2:00 AM

WALNUT CREEK -- Problems with the Village of Walnut Creek's sewer system topped discussions at Tuesday's third and final town hall meeting, as well as at its village council meeting Wednesday.

On Tuesday, some of the 30 residents in attendance asked councilmen what percent of the village was on the system and what their are future plans for it.

Village Administrator Lou Cook said 45 percent of the population was on the village sewer system.

"We would like to expand on our sewer system, but we have some problems with other parts of the system that we are going to have to take care of first," he said.

The biggest of those are the $2 million worth of repairs needed at two lift stations -- a tall order with a total expenditure budget this year of $878,504.

The village has six lift stations total, and the two that need to be repaired are about 25 years old, Cook said.

The problem, Cook explained, is that those two lift stations are in a floodplain, and to keep them running in good shape, they need to be elevated or moved, preferably to someplace that's not in somebody's front yard.

But even more sewer problems were discussed at the council's regular session Wednesday night.

Councilwoman Kathy Daniels told the council she had some bad news -- the two sewage pumps had gone out.

The village pumps sewage to Goldsboro for service, and both village-owned pumps aren't functioning. Currently, the village is operating off a single rented pump, which costs $1,500 per month.

The pumps are only 3 years old and had just been repaired a few months ago. Now the pumps, which are supposed to last 13 to 15 years, are in need of more repairs.

"They should have never failed this early," Cook said.

The pump manufacturer has asked to take a look at them, and is estimating repairs to be about $6,000 per pump -- about half the cost of a new one, he said.

Also at the council meeting, Councilman Danny Jackson told members that basic cable in the village would increase by $2.45 per month and high-speed Internet would increase $2 per month.

At the town hall meeting, other residents wanted to make small suggestions.

Jerry Christian said that he wanted to commend the "courtesy and professionalism" of the village staff and council in how they work with everyone to resolve matters.

Christian had one request -- try and keep the village as close to how it is now as possible, with some minor improvements.

"I moved here about nine years ago," he said. "My wife and I looked all around and decided this is where we wanted to live. I liked the way it was. I like the way it is.

Other residents brought up mailbox issues, saying that many were too close to the roads.

And although Mayor Darrell Horne said a lot of where the mailboxes are placed is dictated by the U.S. Postal Service, he agreed that some were making the roads more dangerous.

Councilman Greg Ricker then offered up some progress on the mailbox and other road safety issues that were discussed at previous town hall meetings.

"We have started talking with the state about the width of the roads," he said. "A lot of people want a walking and bike trail along the roads, but then you have to have a wide enough road for those to fit."

Discussions are still in place with state officials as to what the village can and can't do, he said.

As for the mailboxes, he said that if they are placed too far from the road that it creates a ditch where the mailman has to pull into the yard to reach mailboxes.

"And that's not good either," he said.

And some people even want a uniform style of mailboxes for everyone in the village.

"There's a lot of things all tied together with that," he said.

One of the residents suggested adding a reflector to the mailboxes, and another added that the Walnut Creek stickers for the cars could work since they are reflective.

The councilmen agreed it was a good idea, and said they would look into it.

Pat Perkins suggested sidewalks on the Spring Lake dam for people who walked, and the council members said they would see what they could do.

As for the lake, James Jeffries wanted to see the water lilies by his house gone.

Councilman Jackson said that there are very strict regulations as to what chemicals can be used and what can't, and the chemicals allowed to kill water lilies won't kill them.

Jackson added he will ask the lake management group working with the village to see what they can do, but wanted to note that the village purchased several thousand carp fish that were put into Lake Wackena and Spring Lake Tuesday to eat up some of the vegetation.

And with the village drawing down the lake this year shortly after the first of the year, Jackson said that and the cold weather will help with the water lilies and other vegetation problems, too.