A long-awaited report on problems with the Brush Creek Sewer District’s infrastructure is a “closed record” for now, according to Franklin County Counselor Mark Vincent.
The report is not available to the public because it deals with a lawsuit the city of Pacific filed against the sewer district for breach of contract, he said.
Months ago, the sewer district trustees asked Public Water Supply District No. 3, which manages the sewer district, to conduct a review of problems with the system.
The three county commissioners — John Griesheimer, Tim Brinker and Mike Schatz — also serve as the trustees of the sewer district, and Vincent is Brush Creek’s lawyer.
The city of Pacific sued the sewer district this year for breach of contract. The lawsuit alleges that the sewer district has violated the contract with Pacific over treating the sewage. Specifically, the suit charges that the sewer district has routinely exceeded the amount of discharge that is allowed to be sent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
There has been concern that rain enters the sewer system during heavy storms thereby increasing the amount of discharge to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The Public Water Supply District No. 3 report was supposed to identify problems with the system and provide a cost estimate to fix the issues, Griesheimer has said.
For instance, there have been times that the district has been over its discharge limits by hundreds of thousands of gallons, Pacific’s lawsuit alleges.
Pacific says the district is limited to 200,000 gallons a day, but Griesheimer has said the 200,000-gallon limit is based on a monthly average. Therefore, he said it is OK to go over the 200,000 gallons on some days as long as the discharge averages 200,000 gallons per day at the end of the month.
Still, even with this logic, the district has exceeded the 200,000-gallon monthly average, according to Vincent.
The sewer district’s excessive flows have caused sewage to back up in Pacific residents’ basements, Pacific City Administrator Harold Selby has said.
But Public Water Supply District No. 3 Operations Manager Bob Hathcock has said he thinks the basement backups are related to the city’s own system, not Brush Creek’s.
The lawsuit also alleges that the sewer district violated the contract with Pacific by allowing nonresidential users, such as the Travelodge hotel in Gray Summit, to connect to the system without the city’s consent.
But the sewer district trustees said they did not have to notify the city about connecting the hotel because the waste that comes from a hotel is similar to what comes from a residence.
The sewer district serves an area southwest of Pacific and has about 440 customers.
The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $25,000.