Township resident complains of sewer problems

CALCUTTA-A Purrington Avenue resident attended Tuesday’s meeting of the St. Clair Township trustees to voice his frustration over what he called a “phantom sewer line” owned by the city of East Liverpool.

William D. Shockey told trustees the problem started when a neighbor’s septic tank began leaking into his back yard. Shockey said he contacted the county health department, which cited the neighbor and advised them to hook up to a nearby city-owned sewer line to prevent further problems.

“The funny part here is we’re in the township but we have city sewer (lines),” said Shockey.

Shockey claimed he contacted officials with the city planning and sewer departments but was told that the sewer line did not exist or did not belong to the city.

“Everybody throws up their hands and says it’s all up to the health department,” said Shockey.

Upon further investigation, Shockey said he discovered that his next door neighbor, a nearby daycare and an apartment complex are all hooked up to what he alleged is the city’s sewer line. He said that in order for his neighbors with the leaking septic tank to hook up to the sewer line, an easement would need to be obtained to run the line through another neighbor’s back yard.

Trustees advised Shockey that it is not unusual for township residents to be hooked up to the city’s sewer lines. Trustee Chairman Robert Swickard noted that he himself is hooked up to the city’s sewer line and pays a monthly bill.

Trustees told Shockey that the line must belong to someone and it was only a matter of determining who owns the line. However, Shockey said he had checked city and county records but could not find documentation of the line.

“There’s no map or record of it,” said Shockey. “The engineering department and city, they all fell down on this-it’s a phantom sewer line.”

Shockey said that he was concerned that the township would become a ‘septic city.” He stated that there are many homes within the township with failing septic. Trustees advised him that the county is currently working to connect homes in Glenmoor with septic tanks to sewer lines through a grant from the state.

Swickard advised Shockey that if no one would take ownership of the sewer line he could call the Environmental Protection Agency. Trustee James Sabatini suggested getting all the involved parties together to make a plan action and to make sure everyone was onboard with hooking up to the sewer line.

Trustees ultimately agreed to talk with health department officials about the issue.

“Somebody has to take ownership of that line,” said Sabatini.

In other business, trustees approved the hire of Carolyn Beverly as assistant to Township Fiscal Officer Deborah Dawson. Dawson has been without an assistant for nine months since the resignation of the previous assistant, Debbie Miller. Dawson said she has found the work load to be overwhelming without the help of an assistant. The position of fiscal officer assistant was created over 10 years ago and is provided for in Ohio Revised Code according to trustees.