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Falkville considers sewer ordinance changes

The Falkville Town Council discussed possible changes to their current sewer ordinance concerning the installation and maintenance of grinder pumps during their regularly scheduled work session Tues., Nov. 25.

The council recently changed the sewer ordinance, stating that home and business owners needed a new sewer tap would be charged a flat fee in addition to paying for parts and maintenance.

Mayor Bob Ramey brought up the discussion, saying that the utilities department has come across some issues with certain grinder pumps needing frequent maintenance or replacement.

“On some of these pumps, we are having to work on them every few months,” Ramey said. “It’s getting expensive to maintain them when they are being abused. We need to come up with some sort of policy to make sure we can do the regular necessary maintenance without having to pay for the ones that aren’t being used properly.”

A grinder pump stores and breaks down the waste and water that drains through household pipes before reaching the septic tank. This pump can malfunction if grease, plastics or other foreign objects are sent down the pipes.

Ramey said they had come across the problem of who is responsible for grinder pump maintenance before, since the town paid for the installation under the old sewer ordinance. About twenty years ago, several grinder pumps were installed by the city using a grant. Questions about whether or not the town or individuals are responsible for those pumps are now arising.

Councilman David Carroll suggested the town consider an ordinance that would allow residents one grinder pump service in a six-month period and any extra maintenance in that time period would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“We have no problem with taking care of regular maintenance or when there’s an issue with the pump itself, but negligence is different,” Carroll said. “I think we should figure out some sort of policy that only makes us responsible for one repair in a six-month period and lets us look at any more than that individually.”

Carroll said he thought the six-month period sounded reasonable, and other councilmembers said they thought that should allow for more than enough regular maintenance repairs. Councilman Alton Hill said his last grinder pump went 17 years without significant repairs, but he didn’t expect everyone’s pump to last that long.

Councilman Brandon Dillard suggested the council send letters to residents to make all citizens aware of the problem.

“If we let everyone know what’s going on and tell them proper care to keep their pumps working, maybe that will help the issue,” Dillard said. “I want to make sure no one can say they didn’t know what they were sending down the pipes was wrong.”

The council decided to table the discussion until they could reach Falkville Town Attorney Larry Madison with questions.

The council also discussed the option of repairing damages to Sgt. Lynn Dean’s Dodge Charger totaling $1,249.60. Sgt. Dean was teaching in Hartselle when a large limb fell on his car. Hartselle does not have any sort of insurance to cover the incident. The council will check on their automotive insurance deductible and vote on the matter at the upcoming meeting Tuesday.

Councilmembers suggested the town make a donation to the Community Pride group to help fund refreshments for Christmas in the Park Sun., Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. They will decide on an amount and vote on the matter Tuesday.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing about Non-Conforming Use, Zoning 87-1 during their meeting Tues., Dec. 2 at 5:15 p.m. This hearing will discuss the possibility of rezoning a residential and agricultural lot into a strictly agricultural lot. The new owner of the lot brought this matter to the commission.

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