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Raw sewage flows into Bluff City family's yard, possibly Boone Lake — again

Nick Shepherd • Updated Feb 4, 2016 at 6:19 AM

BLUFF CITY  — Another day, another round of raw sewage flowing into the yard of a Bluff City family — and possibly into Boone Lake.

Once again, the Moore family is experiencing Bluff City’s water and sewer system troubles after heavy rains caused a temporary pump to fail. On Wednesday, water could be seen spewing up to a foot high out of a manhole located on the Moore’s property.

“It’s in the driveway, in the yard, flowing under our boat dock and into the lake,” said Tommy Moore. “We’ve lived here 42 years and never had a problem until a few months ago.”

Moore said the problems started back in May. The family would experience some overflow from the manhole into their yard. Then in December, when the family returned from vacation, they found their driveway and yard covered in raw sewage. Moore said the city had to scrape three inches of feces off his driveway.

That particular sewage spill prompted the Tennessee Department of Conservation to send the city a Notice of Violation. The entire letter was read to the Bluff City Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor and City Manager Irene Wells had to write a corrective action letter outlining the city’s response. She read it to the BMA, which unanimously approved it.

The faulty pump was removed and replaced with a temporary pump, which cost the city $3,783 to rent. It will also cost the city $2,973 per month until a planned $1.8 million project addressing the issues is completed, which is expected to be in August.

Not one day after the board approved that course of action, the temporary pump failed and sewage began flowing back into the Moores’ yard — although Wells disputes that.

“I don’t know if it was in their yard or not,” she said. “It was just clear water running out.”

Wells said the pump was having trouble because of the hard rain Wednesday morning. She said the pump was going at full capacity.

During January’s BMA meeting, which was attended by Moore, Public Works Director Hugh Thomason said he could not guarantee there would never be another spill even with a brand new pump, especially in heavy rain.

For now, Moore is not satisfied with having sewage flow onto his property, rendering his backyard useless, and he’s even less satisfied with the city’s response.

“They're acting like this is a nothing,” he said. “It’s not. ... We’re worried about our health.”

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