Wastewater change would continue local site inspections

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 8, 2016

Wastewater change would continue local site inspections

By Rupert Howell
Panola County may soon have a new regulations for wastewater approval requirements—but the new regulations appear to be an attempt to keep the process the same.

Panola County Flood Plain Manager Chad Meek who also serves as officer for the Panola County Planning or Land Use Commission explained that his office has always depended on the State Health Department’s office to approve rural waste water treatment facilities.
Now the State Department of Health is doing their business by email only with payment only by credit or debit cards.

“It’s complicated,” Meek told supervisors explaining that not everyone in Panola County had access to the internet or uses debit or credit cards.

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He said under the current system, construction could be well underway before Health Department approval was obtained and the builder may have additional expense correcting a violation that could have been avoided with a timely inspection in the beginning.

Meeks suggestion was to change the Panola County Land Use ordinance to require a “Panola County Waste Water Specialist” to approve wastewater treatment facilities and hire former Heath Department Environmentalist Field Dew to perform the service on an as-needed basis.
“This way, we’ll be able to get a wastewater inspection within hours,” Meek told supervisors.
Dew has recently retired from the Department of Health and worked closely with  Meek and the Land Use Commission with both Meek and his agency leaning on Dew’s approval of proper sewage services prior to authorizing power and other permits to a new building site.

Dew had proudly proclaimed in the past that Panola was one of a few Mississippi counties, if any, where permitting on-site wastewater system approval, new 911 addresses, mobile home permits, new construction permits, and flood elevation approval could be acquired in one location—the Cliff Finch County Office Building on Eureka Street in Batesville.

Supervisors voted to set a public hearing for the proposed ordinance change for Monday, August 8 at the Batesville Courthouse.