GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission took concerns at Tuesday’s commission meeting from Second Avenue building owners and tenants in regard to reported sewage overflow issues and whether pipe problems were considered a city or private matter.
Gallipolis City Commissioners and concerned meeting visitors would eventually agree problems would best be solved by city legal counsel researching whether private property deeds held government easements, and if the city could repair a damaged pipe camera which would be used to investigate whether a potential plug was in a sewer line on city or private property.
Area landowner and engineer Randy Breech, Colony Club owner Dave McCarty, along with Ariel Opera House representatives addressed the commission saying the Colony Club and theater on Second Avenue had experienced sewage backup systems in the past. With the renovation of the old Gallia County Historical Society location (as the organization is in the midst of moving to a new location) Breech had concerns as to further sewage issues with new organizations settling into the building. According to what was discussed in the meeting, Breech owns the Colony Club building and is responsible for overseeing the renovation of the old Gallia County Historical Society building. The Elks Building Corporation owns the previous historical society building after a completed financial transaction earlier in the year.
According to Breech, sewage overflow problems seem predominantly focused in both the Ariel Opera House and Colony Club. Breech issued concerns with a new organization being house in the 412 Second Avenue address of the old historical society and that the sewage flow issue seems to be situated somewhere behind the location and the Elks Lodge on Second Avenue, after area businesses paid to investigate and replace previous sewage issues.
City Commissioner Mike Fulks said he has investigated whether Elks lodge property had issues and to his knowledge nothing had been found.
City officials and Breech, according to meeting discussion, met in a previous executive session to discuss the issue. Breech said a satisfactory arrangement had not been met and addressed the issue in an open meeting. Breech said the city is responsible for State Street sewage piping. The sewage piping behind the Second Avenue businesses flows from a back alley into a State Street tap, according to city officials. Whether the city or private business has responsibility for the alley is in question. Breech felt the city was unwilling to help in a satisfactory way with the overflow issue.
Commissioner Steven Wallis would eventually address Breech saying he felt Breech was not stating the commission’s position after the discussion in executive session. Wallis said the city was willing to help where it could, but could not spend taxpayer dollars on private property.
Commissioners Matt Johnson and Roger Brandeberry asked whether it had been determined if the pipeline problem had been identified specifically on private or city land. Second Avenue organizations could not specify the exact location but gave a general area. Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury was asked to commit to research as to whether property deeds contained government easements. Commissioners also noted pipeline problems could stem back several decades due to awkward pipeline laying practices, whether privately or publicly contracted.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.