The residents of the Ridge Creek subdivision gathered on Thursday, August 3 at the Waynesville City Hall to share their concerns with the current situation in their subdivision. Approximately 35 individuals came to express the issues they are dealing with as a community and individually.
In a previous article, the Daily Guide highlighted many of the issues residents are currently dealing with, such as unsafe drinking water, lack of accountability, and a rise in water bills meant to bring the water back to drinkable levels, but not bring the system up to the standards of the surrounding area.
The meeting was organized and ran by community leaders Rick Harne and Mike Meyer, who worked prior to the meeting to make sure the thoughts of the entire community were heard.
Additionally, local leaders such as St. Robert Mayor George Lauritson and Representative Steve Lynch were in attendance at the meeting. Lynch has also reached out to officials in an attempt to get answers to residents questions and concerns about the situation.
“Everybody’s frustrated about what’s going on…everybody’s got some concerns,” said Rick. He added that when the community previously met with the current receiver of the Ridge Creek Water company, Terry Jarrett, he felt they didn’t receive satisfactory answers.
Even though the rise in water bills is high, over 80%, Rick said many residents simply want a solution to the problem so they can move past it, rather than sitting in the confusion currently surrounding their situation.
Mike Meyer explained the water is currently being tested to find the source of the contamination, and to alert residents of necessary boil orders. However, many residents don’t know what well they’re on, according to one of the concerned residents that spoke up during the meeting.
Residents also voiced their concerns about why the sewer district hasn’t stepped in to fix the issue or take control of the system. Representatives from the Pulaski County Sewer District attended the meeting to shed light on the sewer district’s role.
According to Zach Shepherd, the district is unable to take over the system without it being brought up to their standards, which would require a large amount of funds. Unless the developers of Ridge Creek cover the costs, to not only repair the current system and give the legal go-ahead, the sewer district is unable to incorporate it.
Mike Meyer said the current increase in water bills will only bring the water to drinkable levels, instead of improving the system and bringing it to the district’s standards.
Currently the sewer district does treat the effluent from the system and according to Shepherd is “exploring different avenues” to see how they may help the subdivision.
Mike and Rick also confirmed that there has been little communication regarding a timeline to obtain a fix for the situation, and there has been none whatsoever from the developers of Ridge Creek.
“There seems to be a lot of deception,” said Rick. “It’s almost like that pea and shell game, you guess where it’s at and they keep moving it.”
The rate increase was expressed to the residents through the receiver, Terry Jarrett. An initial notice was allegedly sent out to residents, however many said they did not receive it. When this was brought to Jarrett’s attention, according to Mike and Rick, a second notice was sent out, giving them 20 days from the letter date, June 26, to respond with any concerns. According to tracking documents, the rate increase was already approved by June 28, and went into effect before the date given in the second notice.
The Waynesville Daily Guide attempted to reach Terry Jarrett, however no response was received. The Daily Guide will continue to reach out for comment as we continue our coverage and investigation of this story. The Daily Guide spoke with residents of Ridge Creek during the meeting and will continue to talk with those residents to bring their stories to light concerning this situation.