Water authority seeks injunction against Corbin Ave. apartment owner

The Macon Water Authority plans to go to court if the owner of a 16-dwelling apartment complex does not install a device to prevent water from potentially contaminating the city’s water supply.

In a Wednesday filing, the authority sought an injunction against Martin N. Bell of Bell Properties Apartments at 233 Corbin Ave.

A hearing was set for Dec. 5 in Bibb County Superior Court.

Bell on Friday said he was unaware of the hearing, but he was already making arrangements to install the device and the hearing wasn’t necessary.

“We are putting one in,” he said, adding that he wasn’t sure when the device would be in place. “We are complying.”

The authority has been trying to get Bell to comply for about a year, said its attorney Virgil Adams. If Bell doesn’t comply, water service could be shut off at the apartments.

Adams said he spoke with Bell by phone Friday, and Bell said he was getting bids to install the necessary device.

“If he does comply in advance of the hearing, we will certainly not go forward,” Adams said.

The authority contends Bell must, in keeping with Georgia Environmental Protection Division rules, install a backflow prevention mechanism. The device, in simplest terms, keeps water piped into the apartments from slipping back into water mains.

“The EPD gives us no wiggle room on it,” the authority’s backflow prevention coordinator Mathue Joiner said Friday.

Though Joiner wasn’t sure of the cost for the fix, he estimated it was between $1,500 and $3,500.

In a September letter to the authority about the matter, Bell noted what he called its “illegal and ludicrous policies.” He said he would sue the authority for “continual harassment,” claiming the device he was being asked to install was “too big and expensive.”

“The M.W.A. is set up for empire building ... and so many of their decisions were and are made to benefit themselves ... not the general public,” Bell wrote.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.