More sewage problems at Tryon home after recent rains

Published 6:50 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

Town directs clean up; waiting on grant for fix
Tryon resident Eunice Whitmire told council on Tuesday, May 15 that sewage backed up in her house again after the recent heavy rains. She asked what the town is going to do about the problem she has been dealing with since 1999.
Whitmire lives on East Howard Street and suffers sewage backups in her house and sewage running in her yard during heavy rains because of an overflow issue with the town’s sewer line in that area. The town has applied for a grant to fix the problem, but was initially denied. The town has reapplied and hopes to receive more than $600,000 to permanently fix the problem.
Whitmire said the town put in a backflow valve so the water wouldn’t come in her house, but it didn’t work when the area received more than 4 inches of rain on Sunday.
“I don’t even go out in the yard,” Whitmire said. “The yard is just full. It’s not healthy and I’ve been complaining and complaining. I’m the one that’s getting that backflow from White Oak and everyone. I’m the one sitting up (at night) cleaning it out of the bathtub. What would you do in my position?”
“I’d be here complaining like you,” Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples told Whitmire.
Council was sympathetic to Whitmire and suggested having the town clean up Whitmire’s property every time backflow occurs while the town waits on the grant.
Commissioner George Baker said the town has been working hard on the solution and he realizes Whitmire hasn’t seen any results but said she will.
Council asked public works director Joel Burrell to meet with Whitmire to clean up her yard to alleviate the smell. The town is also going to test Whitmire’s backflow valve to avoid overflow in her house in the future.
Baker said if Whitmire needs three backflow valves to stop it from coming into her house then the town needs to install three of them.
Tryon has done studies in the area and fixed one issue that Whitmire said has helped some. Whitmire said after the inflow and infiltration study the problem occurred less often but it did happen again a few months ago.
Tryon has been fined by the state for sewage spills along East Howard Street several times over the past few years. In 2009, the town received $7,000 in fines for overflows.
Council has said the town simply can’t afford a $600,000 fix without help from a grant. Town officials met with the state last month regarding the possible Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The grant would allow the town to completely replace the trunk line that runs along East Howard Street to its sewer plan from the current 16-inch line to a 24-inch line.

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