Sanitary board hears complaint

WEIRTON – The sanitary board held its regular meeting Thursday and heard from two local residents regarding a sewer problem at their home on National Road.

John and Kim Ostrawski requested reimbursement for bills that came as a result of a sewage backup in the crawl space under their home. A broken main collection line that runs directly under the house was filling the space with raw sludge, which eventually made its way through the Ostrawski’s garage and bathroom drains and even into the ductwork of the house. The incident resulted in the couple living without water service for 20 days, according to their statement.

“It was inhumane the way we had to live,” Kim Ostrawski said.

Initially, sanitary board staff believed that the pipe in question was the homeowner’s responsibility. Mr. Ostrawski called a plumber who provided documents confirming that it is the board’s responsibility after all. Staff explained that the sewer main was mapped incorrectly, because a house should have never been built directly over it. The Ostrawskis moved to Weirton around March 2013, which would make the previous owner or an owner in the past ultimately responsible for the issue.

Staff has been working to install a line in the correct location and shut down the one running under their home. The problem should be resolved within the next couple weeks, weather permitting. The Ostrawskis’ bills were collected and will be sent to the sanitary board’s insurance company. Utilities Director A.D. “Butch” Mastrantoni mentioned the couple should look into options for legal recourse against the person who sold them the house. That person apparently built an addition, either without a building permit or knowingly above a sewer line.

Legal counsel and local attorney Dan Guida was absent from the meeting, but board members mentioned this matter will need to be discussed with him as well.

In other business, the board heard from Jonathan Carpenter of Thrasher Engineering regarding the main distribution pipeline replacement, which is nearing completion at this point. He requested a change order for a 45-day extension on the contract with Alex E. Paris Contracting in order to finish a tie-in at the pump station before June 1. Board members voted unanimously to approve.

Board members also voted unanimously to purchase Duke’s Root Control foam treatment for a line impacted by roots that runs between Colliers Way and Three Springs Drive. Mastrantoni said the last time it was treated was nearly 10 years ago.

“The foam is a superior product. It’s the closest thing to permanent when it comes to stopping the roots from breaking through our lines,” he commented.