One Southwest Columbia neighborhood is concerned with sewage overflow from two manholes next to a public trail.
Ridgefield Park is privately owned by the neighborhood and backs up to many houses along Ridgefield Rd. The County House sewer line goes right through the middle of the park.
The Ridgefield Park Association President, John McLeod, has been to city council meetings three times to present the problem. It has been put on the city’s Capital Improvement Program project list for the six to ten year plan.
McLeod said he has noticed a smell, even long after it has rained. He says you can smell it from County House Trail and is worried the picnic area will have to be moved. It has even resulted in backup sewage in one of the houses backing up to the park.
The project mapped out in the CIP requires 4,000 feet of gravity relief sewer to be constructed from Chapel Hill to Ridgemont. The estimated total project cost is $700,000. As of the 2014 report, the current balance is at $0. It is not scheduled to begin construction until 2021.
City Council member Ian Thomas told me the problem is that the city does not have enough revenue coming into the sewer utility to stay on top of maintenance. He is advocating to increase the sewer fee to new developments by about 33 percent. By doing this, the city would have to take less out of the revenue pool for new developments and could use more to keep up existing areas.