Thomasville Times Enterprise

March 26, 2014

Forest Hills residents voice rain runoff, septic tank woes

Patti Dozier

THOMASVILLE — A Forest Hills subdivision resident told Thomas County commissioners Tuesday he cannot have overnight guests without first checking the weather forecast.

A delegation of Forest Hills residents attended a Tuesday county commission meeting to voice problems with rain water runoff and septic tanks.

The situation becomes worse as years pass, said Venesia Calhoun, delegation spokesman and a 25-year Forest Hills resident.

“We’re on the septic tank system,” Calhoun said about the subdivision off Cassidy Road. Not all residents are willing to pay to go on the city sewer system, Calhoun added.

Pointing out the effect of rain water runoff on septic tanks, Calhoun said, “To me, it’s becoming an environmental hazard.”

Waste that should go from houses to septic tanks is not leaving residences as it should, Calhoun told commissioners. Another subdivision is to be built in the area, further adding to the water runoff problem, she said.

“The stench out there when it rains is ridiculous,” Calhoun explained.

She said Forest Hills residents pay taxes, “and we’  re not seeing anything done.”

The subdivision, in unincorporated Thomas County, receives city water and electricity.

Commissioner Merrill Baker, who represents the district in which Forest Hills is located, said a City of Thomasville grant could fund the city sewer system being extended to Forest Hills, but all residences would have to connect to the system.

The City of Thomasville issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon:

“We understand that citizens in the Forest Hills subdivision are experiencing issues with their septic system drain fields due to recent rains. We also understand that a public sewer system would be beneficial to this neighborhood under these circumstances.

“Currently, the City of Thomasville does not have wastewater infrastructure in that area. However, we would be willing to work with county officials to discuss the feasibility of providing such service if the county can obtain adequate grant funding.”

Calhoun told county commissioners that many Forest Hills residents rent. “They don’t care,” she said. Some owners, she added, do not want the expense of connecting to the city sewer system.

Calhoun’s husband, Gerald Calhoun, said that because of septic tank problems, if overnight guests are planned at the couple’s residence, he must be sure rain is not in the forecast.

He said the septic tank at his residence had to be emptied twice within nine months.

The couple’s next-door neighbor said his property is “simply wasting away” because of rain water runoff.

Commissioner Wiley Grady said city and county officials should discuss the situation, involve professionals in the field “and get the ball rolling.”

Commission Chairman Moses Gross said the situation will be addressed with city and county managers and the county public works director.

“We will pursue it soon,” the chairman told Forest Hills residents.