Young hired American Water and SAIC (formerly R.W. Beck) to examine sewer system business and operations, put together a plan that involves spending $35 million annually on capital improvements over the next five years.

Part of that would tackle continued overflow problems, he says.

“Despite improvements made to comply with the consent decree, the system continues to experience approximately 280 overflows per year,” with a possible $1,000 penalty for each, he says.

Up to 64% of the water treated comes from non-customer sources, such as ground water infiltration, storm water inflow or illegal connections, he says.

Jefferson County has never had a mandatory hookup policy, which Young says is needed.

“A mandatory hookup would stabilize revenue and can be set up so it would be mandatory for any new development and have a “transition plan to allow septic tank owners to link to the county sewer system after their tank fails.