Unique plumbing setup a messy problem for Kettering residents

A Kettering woman can’t live in her home because a broken pipe keeps sending sewage inside, and a fix for the problem could be more than a year out, according to Montgomery County officials.

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Jenny Harlow said her neighborhood has a rare plumbing setup that could cause other homeowners to face the same issues.

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

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

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.

And unfortunately for Harlow, because of the location of the break itself, the problem is even worse than it would be normally.

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“The location of crack is underneath my next-door neighbor’s yard, her backyard,” she said.

She 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.”

So while Harlow waits, she’s paying property taxes on the home where she can’t run water and the rent on her apartment.

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No one in Montgomery County Environmental Services was available for comment, but the agency did confirm the county is working toward a solution.

The county plans to have a meeting with impacted 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.

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