Lingering county sewer problem roils Kettering residents

Several residents in a Kettering neighborhood want an ongoing problem with their sewer lines to be addressed soon.

Neighbors on Maplecrest Drive in Kettering say that approximately 10 homes don’t have their own pipes going directly into the county’s sewer system, but instead are inter-connected. Because of the unique setup, when one pipe breaks, it’s a lot harder to fix the problem, they said.

Jenny Harlow said she can’t live in her home because a broken pipe keeps sending sewage inside.

“They’re all chained together,” Harlow said. “It’s just a big mess.”

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Harlow said that a line connecting her house to the county’s sewer system is broken, causing it to back up in her basement.

“We’ve run bleach down it a bunch and had to clean up sewage many times,” she said. “The location of crack is underneath my next-door neighbor’s yard, her backyard.”

Harlow said fixing the broken pipe would compromise the safety of her neighbor’s home and putting in a new direct line to the sewer system would come with a price tag of $38,000.

“It’s gotten to the point where we can’t run any water, we can’t do baths, do dishes, no laundry,” Harlow said. “Then I finally rented the apartment across the street here to take showers and use the water.”

When the problem first came up nearly a year ago, she said neighbors sought to figure out a way to solve the problem.

“But everything is absolutely the same right now, and nothing has been fixed,” she told the Dayton Daily News Tuesday afternoon. “We keep getting the same response. The city and the county say they are going to meet to discuss how to fix this situation and will meet with neighbors, but nothing ever happens.”

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Brian Hartt lives on Maplecrest and said that neighbors are waiting to have a meeting with county officials regarding a timeline on when the issue will be addressed.

Montgomery County Environmental Services Director Patrick Turnbull sent an email to Hartt last month. In it, Turnbull said, “Montgomery County and the City of Kettering will be meeting next week to discuss this topic.”

The letter said that the county is working toward a solution.

The county plans to have a meeting with homeowners in the future to discuss sewer routing and the costs. Then the county is expected to select a contractor and construction plan, but the dig date is still probably at least a year away, officials said.

“We are continuing to work with Kettering, however, we do not have any specific information to share at this time regarding the project and its timeline as they are still being finalized,” according to spokeswoman Sam Elder.

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Kettering spokeswoman Stacy Schweikhart said there was a meeting the first week of April between the city and county.

“As the county stated, no firm details other than the county will host a meeting for impacted residents sometime in the future,” she said. “They are lead on this project - 100 percent.”

Previously, Kettering and the county had disagreed about whose responsibility it was for the Maplecrest houses.

Earlier this year, Kettering law department officials found records indicating that Maplecrest and other neighborhoods in northwest Kettering were originally part of Carrmonte Sanitary Sewer District, which was created in the 1920s. Since this sewer district was formed prior to formation of Kettering, the city said the sanitary sewer lines – and this problem – are Montgomery County’s responsibility.

The city noted that Maplecrest property owners have paid sewage fees to the county for the last 75 to 100 years.

The county had argued that the existing Maplecrest sewer lines are a private system connected to the public system.

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