DHEC gives Utilities, Inc. 30 days’ notice on Tega Cay sewer woes

Posted February 4, 2014 8:39 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

tega-cay-no-swimThe S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has given a Tega Cay sewer provider 30 days to fix a series of ongoing issues that regularly sends thousands of gallons of raw sewage into Lake Wylie.

Utilities, Inc., which owns and operates a sewer system for about half of Tega Cay’s residents, must now provide and install a “temporary fix” to its facilities before fines are imposed.

The extent of the fix and the fines was not explained by state health regulators, but longtime Tega Cay resident and outspoken Utilities, Inc. opponent Linda Stevenson said fines are not enough.

“Talk is no good, fines are no good,” Stevenson said. “Take this company, who has been totally incompetent…turn it over to the city and let the city start trying to address the problems.”

Stevenson runs the volunteer Tega Cay Water-Sewer Citizens Advisory board and has been calling attention to frequent sewer overflows in Lake Wylie.

In 2013, S.C. health officials estimated that over a half-million gallons of raw sewage made its way into Lake Wylie.

WBTV reports Utilities, Inc. was also issued fines topping $136,000. Spokesman Tom Oakley told the television station the DHEC order only speeds up their maintenance plans.

“There’s no work in the plan that we wouldn’t have done eventually as a part of our ongoing maintenance and improvement program, so were’ happy to move this thing forward quickly,” said Utilities Inc. Head of Staff Tom Oakley.

At a mayoral candidate forum last fall, Mayor George Shepherd expressed interest in the city purchasing the sewer system, if it made financial sense.

“It would be something I would support as long as the economics also support it,” Sheppard said.