Letter: Sewer issue based upon false assertion
I must take strong exception to Sherry Hamilton’s piece in the March 14 issue of the Gazette-Journal ("County, Hodges at loggerheads over sanitary system legislation") regarding sanitary system legislation for Gloucester County. She opens with the bold assertion that, "Gloucester County needs to extend its sanitary sewer system …" Who says? Ms. Hamilton backs her assertion by stating that Gloucester has failing septic systems and people who want to solve the problem. Really?
Last year I was a member of a citizen working group, sponsored by the Virginia DEQ and DCR, to analyze the bacterial pollution sources to the Piankatank watershed and make recommendations for their mitigation. As part of that effort, I interviewed the Gloucester Environmental Health Department Supervisor and specifically asked the extent of septic system failure in Gloucester County.
I learned that out of approximately 5,000 systems in the county, at the beginning of 2012 there were 15 out of compliance (some of which comprised damaged tank lids, and outfall pipes of unknown origin). By last October, there were just three still out of compliance and being addressed. Seems to me that the Department is doing a pretty good job.
So the assertion that Gloucester needs to extend its sewage lines because of all those failing septic systems is false. Further, I was shocked to read that County Administrator Brenda Garton is pushing hard to have Gloucester included in a list of counties given special billing authority by the General Assembly. This authority would permit Gloucester to require property owners near sewer and water lines to connect, or if they choose not to, still be forced to pay the connection fee, a front footage fee and monthly non-user service charges. How arrogant!
It was noted that the authority for the county’s borrowing $22 million to build the sewer system was granted by a judge in a 1988 lawsuit brought by the county against its own citizens. Now the citizens, who wanted no part of the system, will have to pay for it, whether they use it or not? This is plainly an attempt to ease the situation of a progressive idea that is having difficulty meeting its financial obligations in the real world by strong-arming the citizenry; and Ms. Garton thinks we need to extend the system further?! Right!
This sewer issue smells suspiciously like another government plan that was to help make medical insurance more affordable, that the country didn’t want, that was forced on us, that is costing far more than ever predicted and that requires people to buy something they don’t want. I say, "Bravo!" Delegate Hodges in refusing to push this government overreach.