Environment
5:08 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Tega Cay Considers Purchasing Private S.C. Utility

A photo of a sewer system overflow on January 11, 2014 at one of Tega Cay Water Service's wastewater treatment facilities. On Saturday, February 8, an additional 500 gallons of sewage burst from a manhole because of grease and roots blockage.
Credit Courtesy of the Tega Cay Water Citizens Advisory Council

The Tega Cay city council will meet Monday night to discuss whether to purchase a private sewage-treatment company and bring it under the city's control.

Last week, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control fined the Tega Cay Water Service $136,000 for repeated sewage leaks.


The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a consent order against Tega Cay Water Service on February 3. The next day, the company offered to sell its equipment to the city for $7.86 million.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

The company that owns Tega Cay Water Service is asking the city to pay nearly $8 million dollars.

Problem is that asking price is $1.3 million more than the town's entire budget. Plus, the price doesn't even include the upgrades that are needed for the 40-year-old sewer system, says city manager Charlie Funderburk.

"I mean if the system is so far gone that it's just not cost-effective for the city to be able to repair it, once we're able to acquire it, if we're able to acquire it, there's no point in doing a counter offer," Funderburk says. "We can't make an emotional decision, we have to make a very calculated decision and we have to weigh all the factors that are involved."

It's clear the problems are significant. Last month alone, there were nearly 56,000 gallons of raw sewage that entered Lake Wylie.  

Since 2011, the company has reported 86 sewage spills that entered Lake Wylie or just overflowed at the wastewater treatment plants.

The state fined the company $136,000 last week. Tega Cay Water Service was also fined $60,000 three years ago. The company serves 1,700 customers.