Columbus Light and Water aids restaurant with sewer service after erosion caused five-month shutdown

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A Columbus restaurant has been shut down since November 2021 after a burst septic tank led to significant erosion issues behind the building.

“We’ve been operating for two years and all of a sudden, we started having a problem with the drainage canal in the back eroding the property,” says Curtis Bordenave, the general manager for Patio 45.

Bordenave says he and his wife (the owner) had the city inspect the property to find the source of that problem.

“They determined that we had a septic tank that was busted in the ground,” he says. “And that we didn’t have city sewer services, which was the first time we were ever told we didn’t have city sewer.”

However, Bordenave says he and others in the area of Highway 45 North were still being charged for city sewer service and he was unsure who to turn to for help fixing the issue.

“We’re five months in and nobody can give us something in writing saying what the problem is,” he said.

Fortunately, Columbus Light and Water stepped in.

“If they think that they’re being charged for city services or they know they’re being charged for city services that they’re not receiving, then certainly they can reach out to us for us to investigate to see what the situation may be,” says Dr. Angela Verdell, the general manager for Columbus Light and Water.

Dr. Verdell says the main reason behind the confusion goes back to the annexation of that area of North Columbus during the 1990s, which is when the city of Columbus took over the responsibility of providing services like water and sewer.

However, some businesses chose to keep their private septic tanks.

“If the septic tank belongs to the customer, if they own it, and that’s the way they want to continue to operate, then that’s something that they need to handle themselves,” Dr. Verdell says. “If the septic tank bursts and they now realize they want to be on city services, then they can call Columbus Light and Water.”

As long as they’re on city property, residents should call Columbus Light and Water for problems with water service, plumbing, or other utilities. Issues with stormwater or flooding are handled by the city.

Dr. Verdell says Columbus Light and Water visited Patio 45 three times, and came to an agreement with Bordenave about how to fix the situation.

“Because of the annexation during (the 1990s), there may have been customers who were thought to be receiving sewer city services and they weren’t or vice versa,” she says. “So it really comes down to an individual customer being able to reach out to us for us to understand what they do and don’t have.”

Bordenave says Columbus Light and Water will begin connecting Patio 45 to city sewer services within the next seven days.

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