After reading the recent article in your publication regarding the ongoing sewer project at Lakeview Subdivision, I feel compelled to offer additional details regarding the project which may help your readers to better understand the situation.
My perspective is from that of someone who has been involved with the project for over five years.
As Presiding Commissioner of Lincoln County, I signed the contract with the contractor after being petitioned by the residents to create the Neighborhood Improvement District to conduct the necessary upgrades, as opposed to the perspective of your article which largely reflects knowledge gleaned only in recent months which is a disservice to your readers in light of the fact that there has been an issue with sewage at Lakeview for at least 15 years, if not more.
Raw sewage has been discharging on the ground from Lakeview Subdivision at multiple locations for many years.
This is a widely known fact among those of us who have been working to remedy the problem and is supported by a mountain of documents held by the Lincoln County Health Department as well as by satellite images showing strips of verdant green foilage when the surrounding landscape is brown and dormant.
Your implication that raw sewage in this location is somehow a recent problem and the result of negligence on the part of engineers or contractors is inaccurate.
Sadly, certain areas of Lakeview were a “smelly mess” (as stated in the title of your article) long before the plans were drawn to remedy the situation.
Where was the Democrat in 2010, or 200, or 1995, or possibly even 1985?
The situation existed then, but you chose to wait until the County and others took action to solve the problem before you chose to report on the situation.
The lack of knowledge on the history of the problem at Lakeview is apparent throughout the article and nowhere is it more apparent than in the front page photo of the four gentlemen staring quizzically at an area where sewage has discharged for many years as if it were something new.
If you were to continue to the background of that photo you would find at least three more areas where the septic systems of Lakeview have been discharging untreated sewage since long before the contractor arrived.
The sewage is ponding in the photo due to the settlement in the new sewer ditch, whereas before it was allowed to flow freely through the weeds onto the neighbor’s property.
I suppose the arrangement, left unaddressed, would have never found its way into your publication.
Neither situation is acceptable, but both will be eliminated as homes are hooked onto the new sewer in the coming weeks.
While I was aware of minor damage to a number of unmarked gray water lines (which have since been repaired) within the subdivision, I was not aware of any sewage on the ground beyond the aforementioned areas until I received a call from Mr. Hurley at 72 Lakeview on the afternoon of June 5, 2014.
Upon receipt of the information from Mr. Hurley, I did not call the DNR, nor did I call the newspaper.
I chose to do exactly what the taxpayers of Lincoln County pay me to do and that was to develop a solution for the problem.
In less than 24 hours, I had coordinated with the contractor and the situation at the Hurley residence had been remedied.
Moving forward, all subsequent issues that brought to my attention will be addressed in the same manner.
I encourage the residents of Lakeview to contact me directly on my cell at (636)290-4182 as we work together to finish this worthwhile project.
In summary, while I am disappointed that your publication chose to cast a negative light on a positive project that represents years of effort on the part of many, I will not let the same disappointment diminish the fervor with which I will continue to approach this and all other projects.
Daniel H. Colbert
Lincoln County, MO