Odor causes city to reject most septic waste
Some Covington residents have continually complained about the odor emanating from the wastewater treatment plant on the Covington Bypass Road when septic tanks are unloaded, and the city council voted Monday night to stop allowing most septic waste to be emptied in the city.
After June 1, septic tank companies will no longer be allowed to empty their trucks at Covington’s plant, unless the waste comes from Covington city residents. Previously, companies would bring waste from the county and surrounding region.
Although companies pay $75 for each thousand gallons of septic waste they unload, City Manager Steve Horton said the process takes up a lot of employee time and also can damage the facility, in addition to complaints of odor from residents on Puckett Street.
The city has accepted septic tank waste for the past seven or eight years, because the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority stopped taking the waste when it opened its new facility. Water Reclamation Manager David Croom wrote in a memo that the water and sewerage authority is once again accepting some waste, and Croom recom-
mended the city now stop its practice.
Horton said the change would also reduce the chance of someone dumping septic waste that contained toxic material, which could theoretically kill the plant’s bacteria and shut the plant down.
There are a few Covington residents who still use septic tanks, but the treatment plant employees should be able to easily handle the reduced traffic. Septic waste haulers will be required to prove the waste they carry comes from Covington residents by providing an address manifest.
More cemetery plots available
The council also officially accepted a donation of land from Billy Fortson that will add 30 grave sites to the Covington Southview Cemetery, located behind Conyers Street Gym.
The land, located in the back of 2197 Church St., was around a third of an acre and will be divided into five plots, each of which will be divided up into six gravesites. Fortson will get one of the five plots, leaving four for the public.
The cemetery hasn’t had any available plots for many years and that’s prevented current residents from being able to bury their loved ones there. When Fortson first offered the donation, the council decided to open a waiting list for residents who wish to purchase a lot.
Before lots are sold, the council must first revise its plot fees. Under the current ordinance, cemetery plots only cost $25 plus the cost of maintenance. The council decided previously that price was outdated and it will revise the price based on price comparisons in other cities, ranging from $325 to $800 per plot. Some cities have separate fees for residents and non-residents, who have to pay a premium.
In related news, some plots may also become available in the future along the East Street portion of the cemetery. Around 300 slaves graves were found in the area using ground-penetrating radar, which have since been marked with circu- lar metal discs. The areas that don’t contain graves could be made into plots. The only concern is that not all slave graves were found as ground-penetrating radar is not 100 percent accurate.
Airport could get more hangars
The Covington Municipal Airport Authority proposed converting some of the airport’s largely vacant tarmac space into space for 16 hangars, which are in demand locally.
There are currently 29 planes that are tied down outside without a hangar, but many owners don’t like that system because the planes suffer weather damage including overheating which can damage a plane’s intricate, expensive instruments,” said authority member Wayne Digby.
Only 12 planes are tied down on a long term basis and six of those owners want to rent hangars. In addition, some private hangars have two to three planes crammed into them and some other plane owners might locate to Covington if more hangars were available, Digby said.