Voices of sewage woes continues
There is more than one home in Springhill feeling less than exuberant by sewage services in the community but town engineer John Kelly says its likely their problem, not his.
SPRINGHILL: There is more than one home in Springhill feeling less than exuberant by sewage services in the community but town engineer John Kelly says its likely their problem, not his.
After reading last week's issue of The Record, Pioneer St. resident Larry Gilbert voiced his dismay with the service his home has received when it comes to running waste from his home rather than have an awful mess back up his line.
"The last time it backed up it cost me $3,800 damages," Gilbert alleges.
Key to Gilbert's woes is that his home does not tie into the Pioneer St. sewage line owned by the town. His house and at least one other, town engineer Kelly confirms, run into a homemade line Gilbert says he didn't know existed until the first time the line backed up after he purchased his home.
"It's a residentially installed line," Kelly confirmed. "It serves at least one other house above him but I don't know who's hooked on and where."
Because Gilbert's home sits below the grade of the town-owned line the household would have to install a pump to feed waste out of the property and into the town sewage line, a cost Gilbert would have to carry on his own. At some point a line was run through his backyard independent of the town and any failures with the system on his property become Gilbert's responsibility. The last failure took place in November and from where Gilbert sits, bad news just kept rolling downhill.
"I've had to hire a backhoe and still have no idea what the blockage was," Gilbert says.
The line failed last year and then again in November, Gilbert claims. Further, he doesn't know what the legal ramifications would be if he denied service to his neighbours.
In a letter from Kelly to Gilbert, Kelly recommended getting a lawyer to determine that answer.
"We have no authority over that line," Kelly explained. "It's not our line, it's not our issue."
In last week's issue of The Record, McFarlane St. resident Robert Brown brought forward his opinion taxpayers are receiving less than adequate service for their tax dollars when it comes to sewage taxes in the community. Erroneously it was reported he made the discovery his line was backing up on Christmas Eve when in fact, he says, it was Dec. 19 and very little was done to assist him in his troubles. When the backup became too much for his sump pump he called a private contractor to clear the line.
In the past, however, the town provided that service as a favour, he says, but now it's up to the homeowner to bear the cost, which he feels, is wrong.
If the problem is with the main line it's the town's responsibility but if it's the line coming from the property, however, it's the homeowners responsibility, Kelly confirmed.
"The service we provide is access to the pipe," Kelly said. "We don't take it to the property."
In each case, Kelly says, there has to be a defining point where the town can say a problem belongs to the town or to the property owner and a sewage camera can be used to determine who's expenditure the work will belong to.
Key to Brown's argument is why the line is becoming blocked in the first place. Reports of clothing, dishcloths and cigarette butts clogging his neighbours lines have been brought to his attention both before and after going public with his sewage line woes, Brown says.
In the event anyone has sewage line troubles and require immediate assistance, Kelly says, they should contact his department's main line, 597-3832. In the event no one is available at the public works office the caller is transferred to the Springhill Police Service's dispatcher who can then track down the appropriate response for the caller.