Council votes to address septic problems

Posted 8/19/18

DORA – Mayor Randy Stephens called a special council meeting Thursday night to address some pressing issues facing the city. He explained that the septic tank at city hall has had problems for …

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Council votes to address septic problems


DORA – Mayor Randy Stephens called a special council meeting Thursday night to address some pressing issues facing the city. 

He explained that the septic tank at city hall has had problems for years. The tank filled this week, which caused the sewage to back up into the restrooms at city hall. The septic tank is in the hollow next to the jail and the field lines have been replaced a number of times. The land doesn’t perk well and the replaced field lines did not last.

When the septic tank backed up this week, Stephens called a man to look at the problem. The man told the mayor that if it rained much he’d have to pump the tank every two weeks until the septic issues were resolved.

The city council has looked at these problems in the past and went as far as putting out bids to fix the septic system. The city got quotes to for upgrading the septic system and also looked at connecting to the local sewer system. 

“We voted at that time to hook in to the East Walker Sewer system but it was going to take some corporation with the Dora Utilities to abandon some lines and change a fire hydrant around,” Stephens said. This was in December of 2016. “But Dora Utility never got around to is so we’d like to take action without them and do what we need to do to look out for our best interests,” he said.

Stephens looked at the old quotes for the upgrade work and called both companies that had submitted bids. One company’s price increased due to the cost of pipe, but the other provider said he’d do the job for the same price.  

Councilman Arthur Taylor asked a question. “I thought the deal was still on to move the fire hydrant and all that,” he said. Stephens said it had been 20 months since they put the work order in. “I don’t think they’re going to,” he said.

The mayor went on to say that they’ve had to release prisoners in the past and send people home because of problems with the system. “It’s time to fix the problem,” Stephens said. The money would come from the capital improvement fund.

The council voted to take that bid from the Williams Septic Tank Service at a cost of $5,800. All present were in favor except Councilman Taylor.

In other action, the council:

• Heard Stephens talk about hooking up the clinic property on Horse Creek Boulevard to the sewer system. The city owns the clinic and it had problems this past winter when the water pipes froze and burst causing damage inside the building. All the damages have been repaired but the facility still needs connecting to the sewer system.  

Stephens thought a contractor doing work for the city would make the final connection, but because of some miscommunication it was not. The contractor wants an additional $8,000 to make the connection. 

The mayor got with a local plumber and came up with a plan to connect the clinic to the sewer system for $2,800. 

Stephens said the clinic is ready to put the property on the market to sell but that can’t happen until it’s connected to the sewer system. 

Councilman Marion Combs, who is familiar with the situation, had a suggestion that might save the city some money. Stephens asked the council to approve the full $2,800 so they could get the system hooked up but vowed to have the plumber look at Combs' suggestion to see if it would be a less expensive option. This money would come out of the clinic fund. The council approved this motion unanimously.

• The driveway at the clinic also needs the driveway paved. They got an estimate to have that work done for $2,000. This money will come from the clinic fund as well. The motion passed.

• Heard Stephen discuss the last two items needed to close out the Community Development Block Grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for upgrading the city sewer system. Back when the initial work plans were developed, the project was over budget. They had to go through the grant and cross out some upgrades to keep the grant under budget.

That left two sewer pumping stations that needed upgrades to keep the system in good shape. Red Star #1 and #2 are the two pumping stations that need upgrading. Stephens said if the council would approve $2,400 to upgrade one of these that the East Walker Sewer System has the funds to do the other one. “With these two stations upgraded we can close out this grant” Stephens said.

• The last order of business was filling a vacancy on the East Walker Sewer Authority board.  Richard Crawford has agreed to serve in that position. Stephens reiterated in this meeting that they make recommendations for these positions but the Walker County Commission has final say on who gets these positions. 

Councilman Chris Edwards made a motion to recommend Crawford for the open position. Councilman Taylor said that a motion was not necessary for these recommendations. Stephens said the Walker County Commission likes to see a majority of the council backing someone. All council members voted to recommend Crawford for the open position, but Taylor voted no because he said the motion was not necessary.