By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — A Trussville man on Tuesday again implored the Trussville City Council to provide an explanation as to why the city allowed a private sewer system to be installed to service the Cahaba Manor subdivision.
Terry Ellard, who lives on Weatherford Drive in Trussville, said at an August city council meeting that he was concerned about noise and odor coming from a nearby sewage treatment plant. He told the council that the plant is directly behind his house, and that he’s been noticing the odor over the last three months.
Ellard was at a 2013 city council meeting to let the city know about the noise that came from the plant. At the Dec. 19, 2013 city council meeting, Councilman Perry Cook reported that he met with the former head of the Trussville Inspections Department, Dan Sargent, at Cahaba Manor. Cook said at that meeting he heard only “a low hum” while he was there. The building has since been insulated with double duct board.
Ellard said the newest problem is the odor, which he said has caused a neighboring home on the real estate market not to sell. The city likely can’t control the odor, so it was recommended that residents call the Jefferson County Health Department.
Ellard said a procedure to protect the citizens of Trussville hasn’t been taken. Councilman Brian Plant said the council meeting wasn’t the right forum for this, recommending Ellard meet with Mayor Gene Melton about the issue.
Building out the subdivisions in the area and having more people move in could be causing the plant, which one resident said was built in 2006, to be over its capacity, city officials said.
At last week’s meeting, Ellard said it needs to be determined “what responsibility the city of Trussville has in correcting a clear violation of laws set forth to protect the citizens of Trussville,” Ellard said. He said the first page of Trussville’s zoning ordinances states “the public welfare requiring it.”
Ellard said the Planning and Zoning Board violated the zoning ordinances by allowing and approving the construction of a private sewer facility to service Cahaba Manor at the request of the developer. He said the zoning ordinances don’t allow a private sewer system in a single family residential district.
“I am very concerned that this council and the mayor have refused to take action or responsibility for this violation,” Ellard said.
Ellard said he met with Trussville Mayor Gene Melton on Sept. 10 with two other concerned residents.
“We voiced our concerns and the mayor assured as that no later than the following Wednesday, Sept. 17, he would provide the city’s response related to our request,” Ellard said. “I have not received that response as of today, Sept. 23. Also, I was informed by the council that they would also look further into this matter about the odor concerns.”
Melton said at Tuesday’s meeting that he still had meetings scheduled with developers, the property owner and the treatment plant owner, so he didn’t want to comment in a “piecemeal” manner. He did say he was getting “fairly close” to having all the information he needed. Councilman Alan Taylor said he wouldn’t want to speak to the issue until Melton does his “due diligence.”
“We’re taking that seriously,” said Trussville City Council President Buddy Choat.
Ellard said he doesn’t want to file a lawsuit. He just wants the backing of the city over the noise and odor coming from the plant.
“Without the city, I have nothing,” he said.
Ellard ended his plea to the council by asking for an “agreed upon solution to permanently alleviate the noise, odor, the eyesore that was allowed to be brought into this community.”
“I also encourage the city to reach out to the developer and the servicer of this private sewer facility so that all parties participate in a viable solution,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.