GALLIPOLIS — Nine residents of Debbie Drive approached Gallia County Commission again Thursday to discuss an ongoing controversy with the Green Township sewer line project.
Beth Frazier, a Debbie Drive resident, spoke the most on the plight of a group of neighbors whose sewer line had previously been laid behind their homes. Residents have spoken about concerns with the creation of new lines being laid off the roadway in front of their homes. This would mean that residents would potentially need to pay for new lines to be laid leading from the backs of their homes and out to a water tap near the road in front of their homes. Residents have estimated that this may cost them thousands of dollars in private contractor fees to connect with the new county sewer system.
Gallia County Commissioners have been mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to replace aging sewer systems in their care and face more than $300,000 in levied fines if the issue is not resolved. Arguably, pressure from the state agency is causing local government to update the sewer system.
According to residents and commissioners, they both felt the old sewer system in the back of the residents’ homes had been made improperly to begin with from previous construction projects several years ago.
Residents and commissioners discussed the nature of 10-foot versus 20-foot easements. Some residents felt because the county had previously maintained the old sewer line that there should be some financial assistance in hooking into the new system.
County commissioners affirmed once again that there was no extra money in the sewer line project budget, nor could they dig on private land without easements.
One resident asked if the residents in question could all band together to get a line put in the back of their homes with the appropriate legal measures and have the commissioners sign a letter saying that the county would oversee its maintenance.
“If you would want to build (a new sewer line in back) properly, get the proper easements and turn it over the county, then I would be willing at possibly assuming that maintenance cost as long as everything is done properly,” said Commissioner David Smith. “Twenty years down the road, someone is not going to be sitting in this seat (as a new commissioner), we want to make sure everything would be done right for future persons.”
Commission President Harold Montgomery said commissioners would be willing to consider such a letter if it was checked over by an attorney. He added that the commission would consider taking on the maintenance and cost of the line after a year’s worth of successful operation of the hypothetical new line in the back of the residents’ homes. Residents would be responsible for building to tap into the road where other tap lines were being built through original plans.
Some residents agreed that the idea may have merit.
Residents who are tapping into the new sewer system in Green Township are supposed to have a post in their yard. Residents can then take the post and place it along their roadside where they would like contractors to place the tap for the new sewer line system. Residents are then responsible for taking the sewer line from their home, across their property and connecting with the new public line.
When taps are ready, a notice will be sent to homes informing residents they have 90 days to hook into the tap. At the end of 90 days, a sewer bill will be sent out, whether residents are hooked in or not. County commissioners have said they will send out letters containing a list of qualified sewer line installers for home owners to speak with about doing private line work in their yards.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 46-2342, Ext. 2103.