BCRSD – Meeting Notes: June 14, 2022 – Presentation of the Strategic Plan

quality cost time scope

Brown County Matters – Facebook Post

BCRSD (Brown County Regional Sewer District). Board members: Clint Studabaker, Mike Leggins, Phil LeBlanc, Richard Hall, Matt Hanlon

Public Presentation BCRSD Wastewater Strategy and Sep 2021 Watershed Study.  Public presentation (will streamed) tentatively scheduled for Juy 18, 2022. Time to be determined.  Available locations at which a representative of the board will be available for questions is at Helmsburg, Spunica, Van Buren schools.

What’s new?

    • The justification of need for expanding and forcing sewer service has been based on speculation regarding the lack of records for septic systems and age of homes. There is no specific documented evidence of failing systems. This has been confirmed by the two previous BCRSD Presidents.  A well-designed and maintained septic system has an indefinite life per EPA and Presby.
    • Some of the water samples have indicated that “some” of the E.Coli is human-caused indicating a failing system. However, the number of systems that may be contributing to the problem was not identified. A large percentage of systems would justify the investment of tax money and support the scope of the wastewater strategic plan.
    • Note that the Proposed County Wastewater Plan was developed by “government appointees” – not elected officials. This plan is not aligned with the County Comprehensive Plan that does have to be approved by “elected” officials after holding the required public hearings.
      • No information has been provided regarding whether or not the plan and study would be pre-briefed to the Commissioners and Council at a public meeting.
    • Note also an RSD will not need the approval of elected officials to force their plan onto the citizenry. An RSD also has the power to invoke eminent domain that may be needed to get the required easements (estimated at 190 in the Bean Blossom area). However, without a valid need, residents may have a legal base to fight the granting of easements if so desired. Residents can also contract for their own water samples to validate findings.

Helmsburg – Lake Lemon.  There is a valid and documented need for sewer service in the Lake Lemon Area and for upgrading the Helmsburg Plant.

Additional Information 

Link to the Strategic Plan:  I found the following statement in the Plan to be misleading: “The primary source of E.coli has been found to be from humans.” (Ref: Executive Overview, p vi). Per the watershed study, the primary source IN SOME SAMPLES has been found to be from humans.

    • The modeling information was interesting: ”Only if 100% of  documented septic systems are failing do they contribute a significant volume of E. Coli to the entirety of Brown County.” (Ref: Watershed Study, p70)
    • The BCRSD still pushing the expansion of sewer service without an understanding of the scope and extent of the problem. No information was identified as to how many “systems” are failing to include what it could cost to mitigate. The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of a problem (human-caused e-coli) could be from 20% of the causes (failing septic systems ).
    • If the BCRSD think they have the needed evidence (probable cause) of failing systems,  then get a warrant from a Judge if needed to inspect the system (s) to confirm the assumptions. Residents could also voluntarily agree to an inspection of their system.

Water Management District (WMD).  This would shift the responsibility to the county to manage individual septic systems – at a cost TBD.

Sept 2021 Water Study Appendix B

Sewer Rates.  An example of additional costs related to sewer service provided by Nashville. The Town Council recently (June 2022) approved a 25% water rate hike. First hike since 2012, Future hikes to be more frequent.

Town council proposes 24.7% increase to sewer rate; private company ‘looking into’ purchase of town water utility

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