LaGrange talks sewers: Some Whitesville Road businesses could lose sewer service

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Some businesses on Whitesville Road are currently in danger of losing sewer service, a loss that could prove catastrophic, and some of the landowners approached the LaGrange City Council on Tuesday to ask for the city’s help in saving their businesses by providing sewer service when the current service ends. 

There are currently seven properties in danger of losing sewer service, when a private sewer provider leaves the Whitesville Road area later this year. While the area in question is expected to see major development in the future, it is in danger of losing this service when the private provider turns off the sewer line. The area is also located outside of city limits.

“Currently, we are receiving sewer [service] from [a private company], but the private company is going to turn off the sewer line, and that is going to put the businesses into a critical, crises situation,” said Dr. Anil Modi, a property owner on Whitesville Road. “We are trying to request that the mayor and city council accept us into the city and try to help us out with the sewer line, if you can.”

Modi said that the businesses need sewer in order to remain open. City council members sought the guidance of city staff on whether or not the sewer line could be extended and how much such an extension would cost. The properties are near the Selig Enterprises property, where a large development is expected at some point in the future. That development would likely also require sewer service.

“All of this south [of Interstate 85] is going to have to be pumped across the interstate, so it is going to require a pump station somewhere,” LaGrange Public Services Director Dion Senn said. “The line has been in bad shape for a number of years, and it went downhill [with the old private system].”

The city has a station near the businesses, but it is uphill, which would make a new pump necessary. Senn estimated that it would cost the city $2.5 million to provide sewer service to the stretch of road where growth is expected. 

“If it was just going to serve two or three landowners, that wouldn’t be a city expense. That would be something that would be totally on them,” Thornton said. “But, the fact that we could put in a pump station, which would open up additional property on the south side of the interstate for development in the future, that is a question for the council — whether the council would want to make an investment in expanding that.”

Senn said that it would likely take 9 months to build a pump station for the entire area. Council Member Mark Mitchell questioned if a smaller service station could be installed to prevent the closure of multiple businesses. 

Senn said a small station could be installed, but a small station would be inadequate to serve the Selig property when it develops. Thornton noted parts of that sewer system may be funded at a later date through TAD.

City Planner Leigh Threadgill noted that the only property dividing the properties requesting annexation from the city’s sewer line is owned by Georgia Department of Transportation.

If the city council annexes the properties into the city, it would still not be required to provide sewer service, but the properties would be ineligible for city sewer service unless they are part of the city. 

The LaGrange City Council directed city staff to reach out to landowners, including Selig Enterprises, to gauge interest in a pump station for the area. The council also voted to move forward with the annexation.

Modi said that if the city can commit to providing sewer service to the properties, the landowners will request that the private provider extend the time that it will service the area.

Some of the other items covered by the LaGrange City Council on Tuesday included: 

4The council passed of a Memorandum of Understanding between the LaGrange Police Department, the Hogansville Police Department, the West Point Police Department, the Troup County Marshal’s Office, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia State Patrol pursuant to the Georgia Mutual Aid Act. 

The memorandum makes it possible for the agencies to lend assistance to one another when necessary.

4The council unanimously voted to allow the mayor and city clerk to donate property located at 603 Union Street to the Georgia Department of Transportation for the Hamilton Road widening project.

The LaGrange City Council will meet again on Tuesday, March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.