WKYT Investigates: a neighborhood caught in a sewer struggle

"I've got town close, but I got a piece of country," explained Harrison County resident Pamela Tolson. The Tolson's have been living in Cedar Brook subdivision for 18 years together. "It's beautiful out here. Quiet. Everybody knows everybody."

"It's just been a sad story with this sewer thing," Pamela Tolson said. They say RA Williams, the company that runs the sewage treatment plant for the neighborhood, was cited by the State Division of Water for needing repairs. Repair costs trickled to the customers putting their rates at $62.00 a month for sewer service.

"Some people couldn't afford the $60.00 so they started not paying their bills," said Harrison County Judge Executive Alex Barnett. Barnett said less than half the residents in Cedar Brook are paying their sewer bill. And since the sewer is separate from the water, it's hard to make customers pay.

"It's not our fault the other residents don't pay," Tolson said.

Judge Barnett said at one point the president of RA Williams filed paperwork with the Public Service Commission to abandon the facility. He's since changed his filing. But the pickle of payment and fixing the plant remains the same. Barnett says a private company like RA Williams can not apply for sewage or water grants. So, the only answer for RA Williams, according to Barnett, would be to fix or replace the plant, or abandon the facility and turn it over to the courts.

But Barnett believes he has a better plan. Barnett wants to start a sewage district through the county, which would be eligible for grants and loans. Therefore, he said, it would lower the residents sewage rates. In this scenario, RA Williams would sell or give the treatment plant to the district. "I don't know what he has in mind but if he's going to loose money down the road, he might want to give it to us, plus a little boot," Barnett said.

The district idea doesn't sit well with Tolson. He wants an estimated three million- dollar sewer line run to the city. He says the judge's idea is a band aid. "I'm speaking for our residents. I don't care if they paid or didn't pay, we want a line from here that way the county can control who pays," Danny Tolson said.

"I retired to enjoy life and relax. I don't want to worry about whether I have a home or not," Pamela Tolson said. Because the Tolson's believe if there's no pipeline connecting them to the city, there's no safety net for their subdivision.

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