PICKENS COUNTY—Pickens County may be forced to take control of a damaged sewer system in the Quail Haven subdivision.
County Officials are raising concerns, after a recent meeting with a DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) representative suggested that liability for the system may soon shift in the County’s direction.
The company that owned the system recently filed for bankruptcy, and did not have the means to service the system any longer. The DHEC official informed the County that he would be recommending they resume responsibility.
This did not sit well with County Administrator Chappell Hurst.
“We basically informed him that we were not interested in taking it over,” said Hurst. “But it appears that in the 208 Sewer plan there is a statement that says the intention is to have Quail Haven, at some point, admitted to an original sewer plant, which would be the one we own, forcing us (to take over).”
With over 100 houses in this particular system, Hurst says it could not be in worse shape.
“It is absolutely terrible,” said Hurst of the system’s condition. “It’s probably one of the worst systems around.”
For this reason, Hurst is predicting that some pretty large bills will be headed the County’s way.
“The gentlemen discussed the fact that there might be some grants out there that could help, because we told him we didn’t have the means to accept a sewer system that didn’t work,” said Hurst.
As of now, there is still no certainty that the DHEC board will take action. If they decide too, however, Hurst thinks DHEC might be willing to cover a majority of the costs for repairing the system.
The administrator says it will require a thorough study.
“If, in fact, DHEC does go to their board and get them to make a consent order that basically requires the county to maintain this system, then I think there needs to be a very specific study done that will incorporate all the costs,” said Hurst. “It appears as if this process will probably move forward over the next few months. I don’t have any concrete evidence that they have taken action, but the guy from DHEC said that’s the path he’s going to choose to take.”
Currently, Hurst and the County are standing in strong opposition.
“We have told them we don’t want it and don’t want anything to do with is, but they may pull some law out of a hat and force us,” said Hurst. “We’re either going to end up in a lawsuit or something.”