The city of Richmond is asking for help from its residents.
Recently there have been discussions during Richmond Public Works Committee meetings about a private sewer line along Franklin Street east of Spartan Drive. It was discovered there is a private sewer line running underneath Franklin Street that was unknown to city workers until a sewer leak was found not long ago.
In addition, City Wastewater Superintendent C.E. Goodall said a resident near that area, who recently bought a house, says that sewage is leaking into the basement. The homeowner nor the city know exactly where his sewer line goes. Last weekend, emergency sewer repairs had to be made near Thurman Funeral Home.
City Administrator Rick Childers posted a statement on the city’s Web site yesterday explaining the situation. Childers said the city has searched records and has not been able to find anything about the sewer line belonging to the city. Furthermore, the sewer line doesn’t exist on any city maps according to Childers.
Childers said there is a section along Tribble Street that has been discussed with property owners in the area. Again, Childers says there is no record of the city maintaining it and it does not show up on maps.
Childers said in the statement that after talking with a city employee he believes there are a significant amount of additional similar situations around the city. The employee indicated to him that he remembers installing private connections lines many years ago as a private contractor.
“The number may be as high as 20. It may be as low as 12,” he says in the statement. “But there is no map which shows the locations of these private systems.”
Childers goes on to to say that what records the city does have are incomplete.
To complicate the problem, Childers says the private lines are smaller than city lines and are old and brittle. Childers said city equipment is too large to service the lines and additional equipment would need to be purchased or replace the entire system.
Childers said the city is currently using Global Positioning Systems to help map water and sewer lines throughout the city.
Childers is asking any residents with any knowledge about the sewer systems to please contact him at city hall. He said the problem is extensive and will require patience.
“Without knowing exactly how many such systems there are, and without knowing exactly where they are, we cannot even guess at the cost to acquire and upgrade all of them,” he said in the statement. “And until we know what the cost will be to acquire and upgrade them all, we will continue to explore ways in which the current owners can work cooperatively to make repairs as needed.
“We can’t accept one and then not accept all the others, and we’re pretty sure we don’t have the funds to repair or replace all of them,” he added.
Anyone with information can reach Childers at 816-776-5304 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the entire statement go to www.cityofrichmond.org.