Proposed sewer district may reduce fines for Callaway County residents
FULTON - The Callaway County Health Department will host a series of meetings throughout November to discuss a proposed sewer district.
These meetings will allow residents to voice concerns over existing Callaway County waterwaste systems.
The department’s talking points for the meetings said Home Owner Associations were “struggling to meet DNR requirements.”
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is responsible for approving the method of wastewater systems in subdivisions, while the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is responsible for overseeing septic system maintenance.
“For homes that have septic systems to treat wastewater, proper septic system care and maintenance is vital to protecting public health and preserving valuable water resources,” according to DNR’s website.
If wastewater systems are not maintained regularly, waterways are polluted and they pose a public health risk.
Subdivisions that are outside local sewer systems must maintain their own septic system and cannot rely on maintenance by the local public works department. The maintenance of larger sewer systems is usually paid for by a monthly fee charged to residents of that neighborhood.
Linda Oberman, Home Owners Association president of Country East, takes care of Country East’s wastewater system herself.
Oberman said when she moved to Country East in 2002, she had no idea the neighborhood had a community lagoon. Oberman also said Country East has been in violation of the DNR’s requirements for some time.
Country East was once fined $10,000 a day for violating DNR regulations, but the neighbors could only collect $4,500.
Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said, “The need is out there to protect our citizens.”
In order for a sewer district to be put in place, the community must first vote on it in April.
“There would be an initial ballot question of the sewer district. Then, later next year there would be a second question on a bond, which the bond, if it passes, would then pay for infrastructure needs,” Jungermann said.
Jungermann said adding a sewer district in the Millersburg area would cost several million dollars.
“People just don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars to do that, and we need it so badly,” Oberman said.