Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Sewer digging damages home

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIAMI TWP. - Work on a sewer construction project has forced a township resident out of her home, and at least one public official worries other homes may be at risk.

map A home along hilly Wesselman Road in western Hamilton County shifted because workers installing sewer lines along the road did not compact the dirt as they were supposed to, Tom Schwiers, the Metropolitan Sewer District's acting superintendent of engineering, said Monday.

The resident, a widow, moved out of her 55-year-old home about a month ago because of damage to the foundation and the cistern that supplied her water. The two-bedroom home sits on 1.3 acres and is valued at $73,600, according to the Hamilton County Auditor's Office.

The resident could not be reached for comment, but neighbor Geri Kleier is afraid she, too, could experience problems when the construction work reaches her house.

"I'm concerned what it would do to our cistern," she said.

Kleier said she has been waiting for water and sewer lines for 20 years. Now that they're coming, however, the construction is causing a lot of headaches. She has endured months of noise and dirt, and a beagle was injured last month when it fell in an uncovered trench.

The sewer work is part of a $14.3 million project to replace old, obsolete sewer plants and septic tanks and to allow more development in western Hamilton County. Poor soil has hampered progress on the project's first phase, which runs along Wesselman between Interstate 74 and Buffalo Ridge Road.

Subcontractor Larry Smith Contractors Inc. of Whitewater Township did the work that caused the home to slip, MSD officials said, and they're pressuring the main contractor to hold Smith responsible. The Wesselman Road home will probably have to be bought rather than fixed because of the extent of the problems, MSD said.

MSD officials say they do not expect additional problems, even though the same contractors are continuing work. "You bet we're watching that situation very closely," MSD Deputy Director Robert Campbell said.

Jay Smith, vice president of Larry Smith Contractors, declined to comment on the damaged home because of "possible legal issues." "I'm sure it will all be worked out," Smith said.


E-mail candrews@enquirer.com

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