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Consultant will help decide sewage issue

An independent engineer will take a look to determine if Selma Water Works and Sewer utility could provide wastewater treatment to 92 residences in Valley Grande.

The Selma Water Works and Sewer Board agreed earlier this week to hire an independent engineer to make the decision. At least one board member, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, said she wanted the second opinion because the board’s engineer, Ray Hogg, seemed positive about the project. Board member Dr. Geraldine Allen agreed with Crenshaw and wanted an independent engineer.

The Rev. Lee Goodwin, chairman of the water board, asked Superintendent George Evans to find one.

State and federal pollution control agencies have threatened to fine the Overlook Hills Sanitary Sewer Collection and Treatment System if they don’t quit dumping wastewater into a stream that leads to the Alabama River. The utility wants to intall a pumping station and force main to connect to the Selma system, meter the effluent and pay a fee to the water board.

But the water board isn’t sure what the ultimate cost will be — the reason for the hesitancy.

Hogg prepared a question-and-answer fact sheet for the board members. The Overlook utility is in line for an Environmental Protection Agency grant that would help with construction of the lift and station. The utility, which is overseen by Noopie Cosby, would deed the pump station to Selma and procure the necessary easements and rights of way for the sewage force main and water service. Only the 92 existing residences would have permission to connect to the system.

Additionally, the Overlook utility would collect sewage bills from individual residents and pay monthly the Selma Water Works for the treatment of sewage. The Overlook utility also would own, operate and maintain the collector lines upstream from the pump station.

In return under the agreement, Selma water works would act as applicant for the EPA grant and award and administer all contracts under that grant.

Hogg said the pump station would be a Gorman Rupp or Flyght, depending on the recommendations of the wastewater superintendent; be fenced in and be compatible with Selma’s system. The city utility would collect its bill monthly and become the owner and oversee maintenance on the pump after it is constructed.

Director B.L. Tucker raised an issue against hiring another engineer. “I think we ought to move on with the project,” he said.