Typically, sanitary sewer agencies fix the problems found on the “public side” and do not venture into addressing private property sources. The primary reason for not addressing the private property sources is because the ultimate responsibility of repairing and/or replacing infrastructure on private property lies with the private homeowner or business owner. While it is legally possible to force private property owners to repair/replace their private infrastructure, Summit County DSSS has not found this to be effective. In addition, it has been undertaken by other agencies throughout the United States, and forcing private property improvements paid by the private homeowner or business owner is difficult to enforce, creates controversy, and unless the agency oversees/inspects the repair/replacement work, there can be no assurances that the private property source has been eliminated.
It is unusual but prudent for Summit County DSSS to take on the full responsibility of the study and then pay for the repairs, in this case. As noted previously, the mainline sewers in Area K (the public side) are in good shape and there is no true evidence that the mainline sewers are contributing to the SSO on Owen Brown Street.
Addressing the private property sources is believed to be the most appropriate course of action to reduce flows that contribute to the SSO and paying for the improvements provides Summit County DSSS a level of confidence that excess stormwater is being removed from the sanitary sewer collection system.
Working with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), Summit County DSSS was able to secure a $500,000 grant to study and remove the sources of stormwater entering the collection system from private property for Area K.
It is a unique study and project, and it represents a cutting-edge approach to the elimination of stormwater entering the collection system.
For this project, Summit County DSSS will use the NEORSD grant to cover the cost of an investigation of the private property infrastructure, determine and design the appropriate repair/replacement solution, and then pay to have the repair/replacement work completed by a contractor hired by Summit County DSSS.