Septic Summits – Sewer and Septic Issues and Strategies

Nov 21, 2021. Brown County Matters – Facebook Post – Brown County’s Elusive BIGFOOT

  • Brown County’s ELUSIVE BIGFOOT. The Septic Summit is to be re-scheduled. The reported “sitings” that started over “20 years ago” are of allegedly failing septic systems that “everyone knows” about but apparently has done nothing about. Pump and Haul is always an option as is providing any help residents may need regarding maintenance, repairs, and replacement. But would this have led to the required justification to build a new sewer plant in Bean Blossom that might benefit the few at the expense of the many? The proposed Bean Blossom Plant is on “pause” pending a review of other options. Over $200,000 was spent by the BCRSD on “planning” and they have yet to acquire land. There is ongoing work to study expanding the Helmsburg Plant to include providing support for the Lake Lemon area and Bean Blossom. The Lake Lemon area DOES have failing systems in flooding conditions and residents have identified a valid need for sewer service and unlike other areas, are supportive. The Big Foot sightings have also motivated the Nashville Utility Service Board (USB) to plan to expand their sewer service to surrounding areas. Any conflicts of interest?

POSTPONED. Nov 19, 2021, GUEST OPINION: All are invited to septic summit this week

    • Nov 16, 2021 BCD Facebook.  Brown County Regional Sewer District’s Septic Summit 2.0 originally set for Thursday, Nov. 18 has been CANCELED. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

Sep 24, 2019 Questions and answers from the Septic Summit by Sara Clifford

 Aug 13, 2019. BCD.  GUEST OPINION: What you can learn at the county’s Septic Summit  By Clint Studabaker

CAUTION: A long post in response to the Guest Opinion article.   I highly recommend attendance at this educational event.  Given that approximately 90% of residences are on septic systems, education should be a recurring event in the county.   I think we all want a healthy and safe environment as well as leaders that can credibly define the scope and extent of a problem before forcing solutions. However ….

Mr. Studabaker references results from a NON-statistically based “survey” conducted in 2008 with more information gathered in 2009 and then used in the Vision 2020 “Plan.”  He then uses this non-statistically valid information to infer that there is a need and a “problem” that “could” present a health issue – an association that is misleading.  For instance, the past two Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Board presidents stated publically that there was no evidence of a documented need e.g., failed septic systems, in the Bean Blossom area.  Another myth has been in regard to the quality of the water in Cordry and Sweetwater Lakes.  Water samples indicate that there is not a problem and the conservancy’s plan for managing septic systems is proving effective.

Note also the vision 2020 “plan” was a private-sector plan supported by the community foundation and the Brown County Partnership. The partnership was dissolved (2016?) due to lack of participation. The 2020 plan was not a county comprehensive plan that has to meet state requirements, requires public meetings, approval by the county commissioners and approval by the county council for any associated project funding.

Of SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE is that major changes are being made and proposed for wastewater treatment strategies (sewers and septics) in Brown County that will affect almost ALL residents to include those that are buying and selling homes. Great if you are a realtor, developer or in the septic system business. Not so great if you are at the low to moderate-income level and/or expect the least intrusion from your government.

Mr. Studabaker is at the forefront of the septic/sewer initiatives – he is a member and primary leader of the BCRSD Board that is proposing a wastewater treatment plant for Bean Blossom. He is also a member of the committee that worked on the proposed new septic ordinance and has written a grant proposal for a Wastewater Infrastructure Strategic Plan for the county.

The Bean Blossom sewer project is now projected to be in operation approximately 1-2 years over the initial projection and is likely over budget. The BCRSD has yet to acquire land and the latest strategy is/has been trying to acquire land (under threat of eminent domain) deeded to Parks and Recreation. Does the public support this idea?  Eminent domain is the tool that can that be used to acquire “private” land “IF” a project is considered to be an important public good. Nashville used eminent domain to acquire the land for their sewer plant.

I continue to be concerned over the lack of due diligence and transparency on the Bean Blossom sewer project. Due diligence includes defining the scope and extent of the problems before proposing solutions. On the issue of transparency, I had to submit a formal complaint with the State to obtain public records from the BCRSD board. I recently made a follow-up complaint with the public access counselor who is working on the issue which involves a simple request – a review of the list that contains the names of the customers. The BCRSD board also promised a website in June of 2018 that would be used to keep the citizens updated on the ongoing status of the project – the website has yet to be developed.

Proposed Septic System Ordinance.  A review of the proposed septic ordinance indicates that similar to the last two attempts, this revision should also be rejected by the public.

Mr. Studabaker has an impressive private sector resume. However, when you are using taxpayer dollars to fund projects, expectations and standards of performance are much higher in the public sector. Standards include transparency, comprehensive planning, due diligence, and earning the trust, respect, and confidence of the community.  Major mistakes in the private sector can lead to firings, lawsuits, and bankruptcies. Similar mistakes in the public sector often result in higher taxes, less revenue for projects with a valid need and a citizenry that lacks trust in local government.

I hope you can attend the education sessions on septic systems and will also stay informed on the sewer/septic issues. These issues will have a significant impact on our quality of life and the cost of living in Brown County.

Tim J. Clark
Co-Administrator Facebook Group – Brown County Matters

More Information – context and details

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