Debbie Drive residents discuss ‘economic hardship’

By Dean Wright -

Debbie Drive residents ask questions Thursday of Stantec engineering representatives.

Debbie Drive residents ask questions Thursday of Stantec engineering representatives.

GALLIPOLIS — Residents living on Debbie Drive returned to a construction meeting with Gallia County Commissioners and Stantec Engineering consultants to discuss ongoing concerns with sewer lines being placed outside residents’ homes — something they regard as imposing an unnecessary “economic hardship.”

Beth Frazier did a majority of the speaking on behalf Debbie Drive residents. Her neighbor, Keith Davison, an AEP employee and a man with degrees in electrical and civil engineering, addressed Stantec representatives and commissioners with concerns.

Crunching some numbers, Davison told commissioners and Stantec that he was having problems finding a contractor to return calls to connect his sewer line in the back of his home with the proposed new sewer line tap being laid along Debbie Drive roadside. He cited concerns with space between his and Frazier’s properties and spoke about more concerns with contracting equipment excavating between their respective residence’s and causing damage to building foundations. Davison asked project coordinators to provide some guidance with a construction document manual to assist he and his neighbors on how best to address plumbing issues.

County Commissioner Harold Montgomery assured residents that commissioners would assist them as best as possible with a signed legally overseen letter as previously discussed in another meeting. If residents decide to band together and build a sewer line behind their homes, after a year, the county would assume maintenance of the structure. Residents would still be responsible for installing the pipeline and assuming costs, however. Residents in the past have been concerned with digging a new sewer line from behind their homes to the front and worry the projects may cost them several thousands of dollars to tap into the new county sewer line.

Frazier addressed commissioners with concerns in the Ohio Revised Code regarding whether or not residents were having an unnecessary “economic hardship” being imposed upon them. County Administrator Karen Sprague debated whether the law could be applied to the specific situation.

Residents feel the amount of money to pay to hook into the new sewer system is unreasonable with maintenance fees they had paid in the past on the previous sewer system. The money required to hook into the system residents are most upset about involves the price it would take to pay for a private contractor to run a line from a resident’s home to a sewer tap line in the front yard.

County commissioners have continued to say the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is mandating new sewer lines to be put in as old Debbie Drive sewer lines are aging.

For those who had recently installed new sewer lines, Stantec representatives said it may be possible to test those lines to make certain they pass required standards. If lines would meet said standards, it would potentially save the property owners money instead of having to pay a contractor to create new lines.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

Debbie Drive residents ask questions Thursday of Stantec engineering representatives. Drive residents ask questions Thursday of Stantec engineering representatives.

By Dean Wright