Shown L to R: Anita Lewis, CEO and Spiver Gordon, Board Chairperson of Greene Co. Housing Authority inspecting raw sewage in Branch Heights yard.
“We have four units with a total of 19 children in the 800 block of Branch Heights where there are water and sewer problems that are impacting the health and safety of this community,” said Anita Lewis, Director of the Greene County Housing Authority.
Mrs. Lewis says that she has been trying to work with the City of Eutaw to resolve the problems but says the Mayor is unresponsive.
“The Streets in Branch Heights belong to the City of Eutaw.
The water and sewer flow in pipes under the streets, which are the City’s responsibility. Some of the pipes are old terracotta and are deteriorating. Since the City repaved the streets in Branch Heights this has put additional pressure on the old pipes and they are leaking,” said Lewis.
Mrs. Lewis had a licensed plumber to come and dig down to the level of the pipes, where sewage was leaking.
“The plumber says the blockage and the problems with the pipes, which is putting raw sewage in resident’s yards and backing up into their bathrooms, is under the city’s streets and will have to be fixed by the City or paid for by the City,” says Lewis.
Lewis also points out that the City of Eutaw collects water, sewage and garbage fees from residents in Branch Heights, and should be responsible for repairs to their system.
Mayor Raymond Steele said in a Council Working Session on Tuesday evening that “Water and sewer problems are our top priority and we are working with a reduced staff and old equipment, so it will take time to get to all the leaks in the city.”
The Mayor said he is working on numerous water leaks and is aware of the sewage leak in Branch Heights. The Mayor asked for patience by the Council members and the residents, so the City could get to fixing all the leaking pipes, clearing drainage ditches and cutting grass over the coming months.
Councilman Joe Lee Powell, whose district includes Branch Heights said, “ I will not be voting for the Courthouse Streetscape Project or other projects in other parts of the City until these critical safety hazards in Branch Heights are cleared up.”
Mrs. Lewis suggests that the City may be facing a larger problem since it repaved the streets in Branch Heights without dealing with the aging pipes that are buried in the ground. “ I spoke to HUD, ADEM, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and others about this problem and there may be grant funds available to fix the water and sewer pipes but the City of Eutaw is the responsible party to apply for the funds. The streets and the pipes under them belong to the City.”
“I have set up meetings with HUD, ADECA and others to resolve this problem but the Mayor has not been willing to attend