Monday, May 24, 2004

Residents fighting for septic systems

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

GREEN TOWNSHIP - About a half dozen homeowners on Race Road are upset because they've been told to replace their septic tanks with sewer lines.

Andy Stefanopoulos, who lives on the street, said the cost of tying in - which could exceed $33,000 or an additional $195 a month in taxes for him - is "outrageous." He said he plans to fight to keep the same septic system he's had for the past 39 years.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Stefanopoulos said Friday. "Our septic systems are running fine and there is no need to tie into the sewer line. There is no proof that we are presenting a health nuisance or a water hazard."

Rob Caudill, director of water quality for the Hamilton County Health District, said discharge tanks like the ones being used by Race Road residents violate Ohio's Clean Water Act.

Caudill said a pump station nearby was recently eliminated, making sewer lines accessible to those properties. State law requires homes within 200 feet and accessible to sewer lines to connect with them, he said.

"This is in the best interest of public health, the environment and those residents," Caudill said. "These (septic) systems do degrade water quality and the public health could be, or is, at risk."

Caudill said residents have a two-year window to tie into the sewer lines. He noted that Hamilton County and the Metropolitan Sewer District provide a $5,800 credit to homeowners to take the edge off the cost.

"We give people time to prepare for this connection," Caudill said. "It's not like they are being asked to connect tomorrow."

Stefanopoulos said he received a letter informing him that he needed to be connected by April 2005 or his case would be forwarded to the Hamilton County prosecutor.

"That's basically a threat to force you into this thing," he said.

About 11 households are being asked to connect to the sewer lines.


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