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Commissioners to enforce sewer connection fee

Doing things right and correcting issues that were not done right to start with — that was the focus of attention at last week’s Lawrence County Commission meeting.

Union-Rome Sewer District Administrator Tim Porter asked commissioners for permission to charge homebuilders $500 if they do not pay the required sewer connection fee prior to building new houses and businesses.

“Some of them are not doing that. They go ahead and build and then before they get the house sold they come in and want to pay (the tap fee) and want a grinder station put in,” Porter said. “This is a regular problem.”

Finding out about new developments after the fact can be more than a headache for Porter.

“Sometimes they build in areas we can’t service,” he said. “Before now, we’ve never had a way to enforce it. But now, we can hit them in the pocketbook when they don’t come in.”

Commissioners approved Porter’s request; it takes effect immediately.

The commission also asked E.L. Robinson and Associates engineering firm to draft a plan to construct a sewer system on the far western end of the county. The targeted area is a stretch of land from the village of Hanging Rock to the Lawrence/ Scioto County line, from the Ohio River to U.S. 52.

There are approximately 75 houses in this area, along with several small businesses and three large ones: Dow Chemical, Duke Energy and Rumpke Inc. recycling center. Other companies have expressed an interest in the area as well.

“What we’ll do is evaluate the alternatives and provide recommendations on what it would cost to provide sewer service,” Doug Cade, of E.L. Robinson, said.

Commissioners will likely meet next week with Lawrence County Urban Technician Joe Black to discuss how best to enforce a county drainage law. A resolution that was passed years ago requires homebuilders to install some form of drainage device to prevent water during heavy rains from flowing off driveways and directly onto the county roadway. Commissioners said they are aware of several instances where driveways have no ditches, grates or collection basins and water runs onto the roadways, creating a traffic hazard during storms.

“I think we need to get it (the resolution) enforced,” Lawrence County Commission President George Patterson said. “In the winter time that water can freeze. I think we need to get it enforced and make them put it in right.”

Commissioners want to meet soon with Lawrence County Urban Technician Joe Black to discuss ways to enforce the resolution.