Tryon seeks house to rent Whitmire

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Surveying begins on sewer line replacement

The Town of Tryon is seeking a house to rent resident Eunice Whitmire following testing that revealed mold issues inside her home and fecal bacteria in her yard and crawl space after 14 years of town wastewater running onto her property.

Tryon also announced that surveying has begun along East Howard Street for a replacement sewer line that the town hopes will repair issues that allow the wastewater to flood into Whitmire’s yard during heavy rains.

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Council met Friday, June 28 for a special meeting and discussed the soil and air sample results then recessed the meeting until Tuesday, July 2.

A sample taken on the right side of the yard was positive for human bacteroides at 1,774 cell equivalents/gram of soil and a sample in the Whitmire’s crawl space was positive for human bacteroides at 628 cell equivalents/gram of soil, according to the results, tested by EMSL Analytical Inc.

Air samples taken inside Whitmire’s home tested positive for Asperigullus/Penicillium, a type of air-borne mold, according to the test results.

During Tuesday’s meeting, town manager Joey Davis said he received answers to questions from an EMSL Analytical microbiologist on Monday, July 1 regarding what the test results mean as far as a health hazard for Whitmire.

The microbiologist responded that they test mostly swab samples, not soil samples, but the closest comparison would be from a public cafeteria. Davis said the lab usually sees a number of about 300 cells, so Whitmire’s crawl space is double that number and her yard is even more. As far as the use of the land, Davis said the microbiologist answered that once the source of spillage is eliminated, it’s a matter of washing of the dirt and cleansing the land to decontaminate it.

The microbiologist said he thought it was a good idea to move Whitmire out of the home until the problem is fixed, Davis said.

Davis has also sent questions to the EPA but had not gotten answers prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

The town originally hoped that a Habitat for Humanity house that is currently available would be suitable for Whitmire, but Whitmire said there were issues there with water as well as being dark and secluded.

Whitmire said when she went up the driveway she noticed water coming in and it was stagnant and green, whichshe feared might attract mosquitos. She also said being a senior citizen she doesn’t want to be in a dark place.

Commissioner George Baker said if Whitmire doesn’t like the color of the house or other small issues, the town could fix those.

“Why should I move somewhere I’ve got a water problem,” Whitmire asked.
Whitmire said she and her daughter have several calls out to realtors regarding homes for rent. Whitmire says some realtors are not calling her back and others are saying they have homes for sale but none for rent.

“I would like to see Ms. Whitmire out before construction begins,” said commissioner Roy Miller.

Council also agreed when a home is found, the town will clean Whitmire’s furniture prior to moving it.

Davis said surveying is being done now for the new East Howard Street sewer line and permitting will take 60 to 90 days, but the town is hoping the state will fast track the permitting due to the situation. Construction is estimated to take 90 days, pending weather, so the construction is scheduled to be completed in December or January.

Whitmire has been dealing with town wastewater running in her yard an/or backing up the sewage in her home for almost 14 years. The town received a Community Development Block Grant for $537,738 to aid in replacing and upsizing the line in hopes of eliminating the problem in the East Howard Street area. Tryon will have to match the grant $164,169.

Whitmire brought her attorney, Gene Johnson, to the town’s May meeting who said he was initiating legal action against the town. He told the Bulletin on Tuesday that he has not yet filed any action as they wait for the town to do the right thing. Following Tuesday’s meeting Whitmire said she did not wish to make a comment at this time.