Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Most can’t afford cost of sewer system installation

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Larry Powers missed the point of the issue addressed in the July 11 article, ‘‘Counting the wells and septic systems” (‘‘Be responsible, don’t keep looking to government for handouts,” July 18 letter).

He expects residents to replace their septic systems, failing to read the part where everyone acknowledges that replacement is impossible. Environmental regulations were not in place when the homes were built and septic systems installed. Today, the regulations for perc tests, lot size and saturation of property make it impossible to extend or replace septic systems. That leaves sewer installation.

So it’s not $6,000 to $30,000, but $250,000 to $400,000 as stated in the article.

Some of the residents are retired, and I’m aware that fixed incomes can be $24,000 a year.

The least the county can do is help find a solution, and they’re doing it. It’s not going to be a free ride for these residents, but it’s got to be made affordable.

Mr. Powers also states ‘‘every dime in government coffers came out of my pocket, and the pockets of people like me.” Does he honestly think the people of Clarksburg and Boyds don’t pay taxes? Half of my county taxes go to schools and I don’t have children. Following Mr. Powers’ logic, why should I pay for other parents’ kids? I don’t complain because it benefits our future.

One system in Clarksburg has already failed, which means the others in that area aren’t far behind. If residents can’t pay the enormous costs, perhaps we’ll be one of the richest counties in the country to have an environmental disaster of sewage in our drinking water.

I know that’s an extreme comment to make, but a federal government survey shows that one of the primary pollutants of the Chesapeake Bay is failing septic systems. They’ve been working on it for nearly 20 years, and they’re decades away from fixing it.

The government takes our money and provides services like education, transportation and safety. Shouldn’t quality of life and environment be a service, like health care and senior services?

Mr. Powers may not realize it, but we are all paying a sewer⁄septic tax in our WSSC bill.

Patrick Darby, Rockville