Private Sewers a Problem

POSTED BY: Nichole Hannahs
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 11:04 PM

A moral claim filed by a City of Zanesville resident has brought up interesting information about sewer lines with-in the city.

When Joseph Norris had problems with his sanitary sewer he first contacted a plumber and when they couldn't fix it, the city was called.

The city discovered through some work that Norris' home was on a private sewer system that was tied to at least four homes in his neighborhood, the line was only six inches, much smaller than city code.

"Those sewers were put in before there was any regulations by the City and the Health Department," explained Public Service Director Mike Sims. "A lot of them were never mapped. They were only shown on the subdivision plats and not turned over to the city."

Sims said private sewers are a problem in older areas of the city such as Fairmont, St. Louis and Moxahala Avenues. In the cases of Norris home the original builder never paid a tap fee and he's never been charged for sewer in his time of owning the property.

The city did try to help the homeowner.

"We have a sketch of it now. We at least have an idea of how they run. We really won't know the basics of it. We did put a manhole in it, simply so we don't run into this situation the next time," said Sims. "If the sewer were to collapse right now, it really would be the responsibility of the property owners to share that repair."

Sims said they'll correct other private sewers as the city undergoes it's sewer separation project. The moral claim for $535.00 by Norris for excavation on the property was declined by City Council. Sims said they're now looking at all their water only customers to make sure that properties that should be getting billed for sewer are indeed being billed.


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