Dorchester couple says raw sewage flows out of the main and into - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Dorchester couple says raw sewage flows out of the main and into the creek behind their house

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A Dorchester County couple says they have a nasty sewage problem in their neighborhood. They contacted News 2 to find out how to stop raw sewage from flowing through the creek behind their house.

Jeffrey and Jeanette Rehrig have lived in Trotter's Ridge subdivision since 2005.

A few years later, Jeffrey says they noticed a sewage problem, "I'm gonna say about 2008 I saw it start... And it was a once in a while hundred year flood event. 6-7 inches of flooding. We'd see flooding, we'd see sewage. It's just gotten worse since then."

They shot video of the manhole behind their house earlier this week. They say toilet paper and other raw sewage was flowing out of the line onto the flooded ground and into the nearby Rumphs Hill Creek. A note there now says that human waste did spill from the site, and is in the process of being cleaned  up.

Jeanette says it appears that later this week, after this video was shot,  county crews sealed the manholes behind her house shut, which may prevent overflows there, "but my biggest question is, if they sealed all these here, whose neighborhood is next? So I hope you're not next. So I hope you're not up stream or downstream."

Jeffrey says before these manholes were sealed shut, the manholes in their culdesac were sealed shut, and that just moved the problem, "They're happy they chased it out of our cul-de-sac back here to the woods. I can't let that go. You're polluting the creek, the creek overflows into my yard, it's not good enough."

Jeffrey said they were given a letter that acknowledged there is a problem with the sewage line in that area during major rain events. Jeffrey says the letter states that a long term solution may be to divert capacity to another line nearby... But that plan has not been implemented.

Jeanette says, "it's taken way too much energy, way too much time. And we're tired here in Trotter's Ridge, and we would just like it fixed."

We took these concerns to Kristen Champagne, the Director of Dorchester County Water and Sewer. While she didn't want to go on camera, she did send us a list of projects that are either completed, or in the process of being completed. Champagne says the projects are funded, with the exception of the pump station 5 and the new force main pump to station 2. She said those 2 projects are in the engineering phase, and once a cost estimate is done, she says she will ask council to approve the funding.

Below is a full breakdown of the projects that Champagne says should help ease some of the sewage issues:

The Pine Forest contractor and Dorchester County staff have permanently affixed the ring and cover to the new manhole.  This will prevent tampering as well as accidental removal of the ring and cover.  Since May 2013, the Dorchester County Water and Sewer Department has installed flood tight hinged manhole covers on existing manholes along and around Rumphs Hill Creek.  Additionally, a hinged and locking manhole cover has been installed in the Trotters Club Way cul de sac.  This was installed to prevent any stormwater from entering or sewer from coming out of the manhole.  All work was performed by Water and Sewer staff.  Estimated material cost $6,961.92.

The department has and will continue to perform smoke testing, CCTV inspection, and manhole inspections in the area.  Based on the inspections, repairs have been made to the system, and roof drains of a building were disconnected from the sewer system.  Neighborhoods where the inspections were performed include Pine Hill Acres, Clemson Terrace, Brownsville, Hunter's Creek, Scott's Mill, Summervillage Mobile Home Park, Trotter's Ridge, Summer Glen, Bradford Chase, Braeland, Butternut Ridge, Pine Forest, and Plum Creek.  Other inspected areas include Ridgeville, Meadow Run, Dorchester Regency, Greenwood Ranches, Summerset Acres, and Brookwood.

Additionally, the Water and Sewer Department, identified the following six projects and has began implementing several measures to improve the sewer system in the Rumphs Hill Creek area:

1.)  The contractor of the Pine Forest development will realign the existing sewer mains at three locations along Rumphs Hill Creek in conjunction with the development of their new phase. Two of the three projects have been completed. Estimated cost $25,780.

·         The existing 15-inch sewer main along Rumphs Hill Creek will be realigned just upstream of Orangeburg Road. The pipes will have improved angles which will allow better sewer flow through the system.  The County has secured easements and the construction will proceed.

·         The existing 8-inch sewer main from Reeves Elementary and Dubose Middle Schools has been realigned to a more favorable angle (greater than ninety degrees) with the Rumphs Hill Creek main. This will provide improved flow away from the schools.  This was completed May 4, 2013.

·         The existing 8-inch sewer main from Trotters Ridge has been realigned to a more favorable angle (greater than ninety degrees) with the Rumphs Hill Creek main. This will provide improved flow away from Trotters Ridge. This was completed May 4, 2013.

2.)    Dorchester County Water and Sewer has an agreement with Summerville CPW to divert approximately 415 customers (approximately 103,750 gallons per day) to Summerville CPW.  This project includes diverting Pump Station 25 to the Summerville CPW sewer system. The construction drawings are complete. All permits other than railroad are complete. We anticipate that the diversion to Summerville CPW will be completed in late September/early November of 2013. Engineering and construction (excluding the directional drilling) to be done to by Dorchester County Water and Sewer staff.  The material and directional drilling cost is estimated to be $100,000.

3.)    Dorchester County Highway 27 Diversion Project will divert all sewer from the Ridgeville area which currently flows through Knightsville (approximately 360,000 gallons per day (GPD) or 1,440 equivalent residential units (ERUs)) through a new 16 inch forcemain that will be constructed along Highway 27 and will manifold into the Pump Station 120 forcemain. The anticipated completion is March 2014. Chandler Construction was awarded the contract.  Estimated cost $4,547,070.88. County Council has approved a total budget amount of $4,800,000.

4.) Dorchester County plans to divert the sewer from pump station 5 (approximately 368,750 GPD or 1475 ERUs) located on Highway 78 around the Rumphs Hill Creek gravity truck line to pump station 4.  Engineering is underway.  Estimated cost  $3,800,000.

5.)  Dorchester County is planning to abandon approximately 3,600 Linear Feet of 24 inch gravity line that discharges into pump station 2 and replacing it with a 24 or 30 inch forcemain that will discharge directly into the wet well. The Water and Sewer Department has selected an engineer for design.  Estimated cost $1,000,000.

6.) We also plan to install eight air release valves (ARVs) in high points that we have identified along the pump station 4 and 3 force mains.  The construction materials and valves have been purchased and the work will be performed by Dorchester County Water and Sewer.  Material cost approximately $15,077.48.

We look forward to the completion of the aforementioned projects and working with the developers and residents of Dorchester County to address their future needs and concerns.

Kristen J. Champagne, P.E.

Director of Water and Sewer

Dorchester County

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