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Sewer connections need more regulation, Wellsville council says

April 7th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Jimena Herrero

WELLSVILLE- The City Council amended the sewage system service requirements Wednesday. Under the unamended city ordinance, homeowners were responsible for their sewage and sewage lines until they connected with city lines.

“City policy has always been that the owner is responsible for sewer until it gets in the line,” City Manager Don Hartle said. “But we don’t know where some of those lines end. We need to require they be marked.”

The unmarked pipe system is just one of the problems Wellsville is facing. There is also a possible conflict of interest with city employees who are also contractors.

“I had my line fixed and now it’s costing me $500 a year to keep it clean,” city resident Rex Egbert said. “The reason we’re paying $500 a year is because pipes were installed at an angle, even though there was plenty of space.”

Egbert said that this is a problem that residents are faced with throughout the city. After trying to resolve the problem on his own, he is now turning to the city for help.

“They’re doing what they should as city employees, but not as contractors. It’s a conflict of interest,” Egbert said. “They have to be responsible of the job they do.”

As of right now there is no regulation on service lines. Homeowners are responsible for hiring a professional to install them, but the city has no way of verifying the contractor’s license.

“But we don’t verify licenses, we have no idea who plumbers contract,” City Manager Hartle said.

Residents are concerned that the conflict of interest is turning a few isolated incidents into a way of business for contractors in the Wellsville area.

The city council has agreed to look further into this issue and speak to the city attorney to see how it can be solved. “We have the right to make sure contractors are using the proper techniques and meeting the proper codes,” Councilman Gary Bates said.

“We’re not just a couple disgruntled citizens,” Egbert said. “This is bigger than that. This whole city is a pressure cooker.”


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