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Lebanon should end the spin on sewer
Mar 25, 2005 12:00 am
When it comes to discussing the problems facing the city's sewer infrastructure, Lebanon City government has been the all spin zone of late.
Lebanon city councilors and Mayor Don Fox alike took their message that all is actually well with the city sewer system last week to the local media despite well documented facts to the contrary.
Yes, it is true the Lebanon Public Works staff have been working diligently for years to identify and solve problems with the sewer system that have seen mass eruptions of raw sewage blanket taxpayers' yards and property.
However, that is the job of a public works department. Doing one's job is not cause for celebration or the equivalent to public servant extra credit.
In truth, the City Council and Fox have failed to act with an appropriate sense of urgency after the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation levied two actions against the city for pollution of a local stream and chronic overflows of the sewer system.
Now, Lebanon finds itself on the cusp of unprecedented commercial growth, and adoption of a plan to shore up the ailing sewer – the most crucial support component for that growth – is still up in the air. There are half a dozen industrial parks, numerous subdivisions, a world-class racing facility and a potential arena all tied to Lebanon's sewer.
And, despite the spin of city leaders, TDEC officials have made it abundantly clear a sewer moratorium is a real possibility if corrective action is not taken to fix Lebanon's sewer problems.
From their collective public statements, it is unclear what City Council is waiting for in order to adopt a recommended five-year, $16 million plan to fix what ails the sewer system. The present mode of operation appears to be to simply talk about how long chronic overflows and pollution have been a known problem in Lebanon – not exactly something to brag about.
With all that sitting on Lebanon's plate and with an increasingly competitive economic development environment in Middle Tennessee, it is time Lebanon City Council and Fox take some tangible steps beyond filing reports with state government to address the sewer issue.
Adopting a plan of action that includes a measure of funding is the logical place to start.