'We are begging for help before a crisis occurs'
TRURO - Some residents of Granville Drive in Upper Onslow are "thrilled" the county is taking another step to come to the aid of their septic problems.
The residents have been asking Colchester County council to fix their septic issues for many years and another heartfelt plea, from Catherine Anderson, was heard at Thursday night's committee meeting.
"There's some backup coming into houses from moderate rain ... for a number of years," said Anderson, a resident of Granville Drive of 35 years. "Since about 1997, we've wanted a solution. People are frustrated ... we don't want it to escalate to the point people's health is affected. The situation is critical and we are begging for help before a crisis occurs."
After Anderson's presentation, councillors discussed the possibility of looking into their capital budget to see if funds could be found to help support a $4.25-million proposal that could result in the county building a sewer system to extend from Granville Drive to Mingo Corner in Onslow.
Coun. Bill Masters said it would require a lot of time and money but would be worth it.
"I'd rather spend the time, effort and money to fix it once and for all. We have a responsibility to make sure sewage doesn't enter their water. It's a health issue," Masters said. "I'm not in favour of taking five years to do it. If we need to find money to do it we'll find it. If we need to borrow money we'll borrow it."
Councillors agreed the best approach is to hold a capital expenditure meeting to see what finances could be allocated from the existing capital budget for such a project.
"We have to live in our means," added Coun. Tom Taggart.
Councillors are suggesting having the meeting within a month and returning to council with an update. Coun. Bob White hopes the plan will go forward sooner rather than later.
"A band aid is not going to work. I hope to break ground next spring, depending on the budget," said White.
Anderson said she was pleased with the direction council is taking.
"I'm very pleased. It's more than I hoped for tonight. I'm thrilled," Anderson said.
Council had originally planned to spend $450,000 to install a new private sewer line to service 25 households on Granville Drive in Upper Onslow. It would have replaced an aging and dysfunctional central sewer system, dating to 1947. But after municipal staff met with Department of Environment (DoE) officials, a number of issues were raised that made the proposed project less desirable from council's perspective, including no new connections could be made to the system.
One of the DoE remedies indicated all Granville Drive residents would replace their existing septic tanks with new, two-chamber septic tanks in order to connect to the proposed pipeline. Direct hook-ups or hook-ups through existing failing or old septic tanks would not have been allowed.