Smithsburg Town Council meeting grows heated over water treatment costs

Councilman Troy Jernigan said the town paid $85,000 last year to treat excess water leaking into the sewage system

January 03, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |

SMITHSBURG — The continuing cost of excess water infiltrating town sewer lines surfaced again Tuesday night during a sometimes heated Smithsburg Town Council meeting.

Councilman Troy Jernigan said the town paid $27,100 in December to treat excess water flowing into the system.

And in November, Smithsburg paid $14,600 for the same problem, said Jernigan, who also raised the issue at a December council meeting.

Jernigan expressed frustration Tuesday night with the town's response to the situation, especially since taxpayers are footing the bills.

"There's a hole somewhere," Jernigan said.

He and other officials at the meeting talked about doing smoke tests to determine where the leaks might be.

Jernigan said last year the town spent $85,000 to treat excess water leaking into the sewage system.

"That's crazy," he said.

The discussion became heated at times with Jernigan calling out to Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers to let him continue speaking on the issue.

Myers said she contacted the Maryland Environmental Service, a state agency that can help municipalities with sewer issues.

She said the agency offered to come to Smithsburg and assess the town's sewage-infiltration problems for $1,000.

But council members chose instead to only receive some free e-mailed information from the agency, Myers said.

The council should have decided to do more if they were concerned with the situation, Myers said after the meeting.

The town has used a company called Mr. Rehab to make video of the interiors of sewer lines to identify problem areas, and the major problem areas identified by the company have been addressed, Myers said.

There are other problems that have been identified by Mr. Rehab, and officials at Tuesday's meeting decided to keep working on those problems, she said.

"There's always something to repair," Myers said after the meeting.

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