One of the supposed benefits of municipal sewerage systems is that the customer can simply flush and forget it. And if there's a problem with the system - well, you just call the people in charge and have it fixed.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.

Virginia Hardin of Hollywood writes in a letter to the editor today that she has endured odor problems related to the town of Hollywood's municipal sewerage system for seven years.

And don't tell her it's always been a problem. She's lived in her house for 75 years.

The odor problem is centered at a sewage pumping station near her house on Hwy. 162, and becomes more evident as you approach it. But it's experienced elsewhere at other pumping stations, according to a spokesman for the sanitation company that contracts with the town for their operation and maintenance. The sewer system also serves Ravenel and Meggett.

The underlying problem is an insufficient flow to keep the system cleaned out. And that's caused primarily by a too-large sewer main serving Meggett, according to Gene McCall of the Clearwater Group.

At the time the line was installed, it was expected that Meggett would soon be booming with new construction, and that the eight-inch diameter pipe would be needed to take care of all those new customers.

But that didn't happen, and consequently there is not enough water flow to keep the effluent moving along rapidly to Plum Island.

Mr. McCall details a number of improvements undertaken to limit odor, but acknowledges that they haven't been altogether successful. Currently, the company is seeking recommendations for a biological odor control system that is expected to be tested this summer.

The sooner the better.

The James Island Public Service District recently reported that the installation of a biological odor control system has sharply reduced odor at a pumping station off Secessionville Road.

A problem like this really demands a solution.

And not one that takes seven long years to accomplish.