“The city will allow 15 days from the date of contract to allow the property owner to review and grant the easement,” Mayor Joe Barger said. “After 15 days, the city will instruct legal counsel to start the condemnation process.”
According to Barger, the city will not offer a free tap-on or money for any sewer easement to install a gravity sewer line.
In a gravity line, sewage follows the flow of gravity; a force main requires a pump to push sewage through the line.
For force main projects, the city will conduct an appraisal on each parcel of land where an easement is necessary and offer the fair market value for the easement to the property owner, he said.
The same 15-day policy will apply, he said.
Ringgold City Council unanimously adopted the new easement policy March 22 at Ringgold City Hall. Council member Martha Denton made the motion. Councilman O.C. Adcock seconded.
Barger said that in the case of gravity lines, installation in areas previously without service actually increases the value of the owner's property.
We have given a resident access to sewer, and in some cases we are making him a lot of money," he said.
Lovinggood Road resident Millie Cheek said an easement from her property will not be needed by the city when the Ringgold interceptor is installed in front of her home in the existing county easement.
“As it stands right now, they will come down on one side of road, and it could threaten to kill trees on ours and a neighbor’s property. Some of these are 100-years-old,” she said. “Fifteen days sort of troubles me in that it does not give people time to react and work out a solution.
“I have to respect their decision, but I think it is a short time for a solution to be reached by both parties,” she said. “It is a little disheartening in that it is a city sewer line and normally as a county citizen you would not have to keep up with the actions of the city, but in our case it will impact our property.”
Ringgold plans to spend $3.1 million on the 41,000-foot Ringgold sewer interceptor that will connect the city with Moccasin Bend sewage treatment facilities in Chattanooga and increase Ringgold’s sewage capacity to between three and four million gallons a day.
This project will involve easements across 72 properties, City Manager Dan Wright said.
“We should be receiving the easements needed from Arcadis in the next week or so,” he said. “Once we have the easements, we will start having them appraised. Then the easement along with an offer will be sent out to each parcel.”
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division required Ringgold to make some decisions in 2002 or face possible penalties. The city chose to build the Ringgold interceptor rather than upgrade its current sewer treatment facility from 700,000 gallons a day to 1.4 million gallons a day.
The city is currently trying to meet the agreed upon timetable reached with the EPD.
Catoosa County gave Ringgold control over operations of the Ringgold and Peavine sewer basins through an intergovernmental agreement in early 2003.
The Ringgold basin includes the South Chickamauga Creek basin and all water drainage basins lying east of Taylor’s Ridge and White Oak Mountain to the Walker County line on the south and east and Whitfield County also on the east.
The Peavine basin includes Peavine Creek beginning at the Walker County line at the crest of Boynton Ridge to the intersection with I-75 and then running north along the interstate to the Tennessee state line.
Ringgold eliminated a previous county policy of providing a free tap-on to the sewer line if a resident allows an easement. This new policy reaffirms that practice.
Tap-on fees for residents are $600 per tap, Wright said.
Councilman J.B. Petty said that some people may be concerned about the 15-day time limit, but said the city is also under a time constraint to complete the Ringgold interceptor to the Moccassin Bend sewage treatment facility.
Wright said if someone happens to be out of town or in the hospital, the city will work with that property owner