Shelby and Chilton residents ‘get pumped’

On May 25, the Buxahatchee Creek Watershed Restoration Project held its first “Get Pumped” Septic Tank Pumpout Workshop in Shelby County.

The project, part of an Alabama Department of Environmental Management 319(h) grant to improve the water quality of Buxahatchee Creek and the surrounding watershed, was made available countywide in an effort to increase awareness of water quality issues throughout a broader area, rather than just the Buxahatchee watershed.

The $75,000 grant, distributed in $250 vouchers, gives opportunity for Shelby and Chilton County residents to have their septic tank pumped or repairs made to their existing septic system.

The vouchers are accepted by participating septic tank pumpers and cover much, or all, of the cost.

“The best comments received after the workshops were from the people coming up to me and saying they assumed there must be a catch or sales pitch and there wasn’t any,” Project Coordinator Glenn Littleton said.

All that is required to obtain a voucher is to attend the short one-hour workshop and be educated on how to best maintain your home septic system.

The Chilton County workshop was held a week prior to Shelby’s and 86 vouchers were given out. The Shelby workshop was also successful, but with a smaller attendance — only 53 vouchers awarded.

Littleton remarked how much help the participating septic tank pumpers have been to the program.

“We didn’t ask them to limit the fee for their services, but almost all of them have

dug up and pumped tanks and accepted the $250 voucher as full payment. It’s made lots of homeowners very happy,” he said.

Littleton said the project has received generous help from the Calera Waste Treatment Plant.

“They’re taking all the sludge pumped and processing it for us. It’s making those guys at the plant work very hard,” he said.

The next workshop — and opportunity for Shelby County septic tank owners to earn a voucher worth $250 — is Tuesday, July 20, in the Calera Middle School Auditorium. The program starts at 6 p.m., but registration begins an hour earlier. It will be a combined workshop for Chilton and Shelby County.

“There were 300 vouchers divided equally between the counties,” Littleton said. “There’s still 97 remaining vouchers for Shelby and 64 for Chilton county residents, I need to give all of them away.”