Trustees Respond to Sewer District Lawsuit - The Missourian: Local News

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Trustees Respond to Sewer District Lawsuit

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 7:30 pm

Franklin County officials held a news conference Monday to discuss ongoing problems with the city of Pacific.

Pacific has filed a lawsuit against the Brush Creek Sewer District alleging breach of contract.

The lawsuit alleges that the Brush Creek Sewer District trustees have violated numerous terms of the agreement between the city and the sewer district. For more information on the lawsuit, please see the Pacific section of The Missourian.

Pacific treats the wastewater from the district under the terms of the contract that is in dispute.

The sewer district trustees also are the three county commissioners — Tim Brinker, Mike Schatz and John Griesheimer.

They say they would rather meet with the city to resolve the contract problems rather than going to court.

“The bottom line is that we want to make this right and fix it if something’s broken,” Brinker said.

Also, the trustees dispute two claims made in the lawsuit — one being that the sewer district violated a term of the agreement by not notifying the city when the Travelodge hotel was hooked onto the sewer system.

Pacific alleges that the agreement requires the city be notified when new non-residential customers are hooked onto the system.

But the sewer district trustees said notifying the city of Pacific about new connections is not required when the type of waste that is produced is similar to what comes from a residential property.

Also, the trustees said it appears Pacific reported incorrect information in terms of the amount of sewage that comes from the hotel.

Pacific City Administrator Harold Selby said the hotel produces 12,000 to 18,000 gallons of wastewater per day, but the sewer district trustees say they have records to prove it is much less.

Moreover, the district also disputes other numbers regarding the volume of waste that has come from the sewer district.

The city of Pacific has said the contract only allows up to 200,000 gallons of wastewater per day to come from the sewer district.

But Griesheimer said that the 200,000 gallons is based on a monthly average.

For instance, Griesheimer said the contract allows more than 200,000 gallons a day to go to the city’s plant as long as the average over a monthly period does not exceed 200,000 gallons a day.

“That’s their (Pacific’s) wording in the contract,” Griesheimer said.

Pacific officials failed to mention that the flows are based on a average, Griesheimer said, adding, “Shame on them.”

Brinker said when the flows are looked at as an average, that the district is below the 200,000-gallon daily limit.

“It averages well below that,” Brinker said.

Brinker added, “The statements of the flow rates are so extreme in the wrong.”

However, the sewer district’s attorney, Mark Vincent, said there have been some times since the sewer district was created that the district has gone over the 200,000-gallon daily average.

The trustees also said they are working on plans to fix infiltration problems in the system.

The infiltration occurs when rainwater enters the system and causes increased flows to Pacific’s wastewater treatment plant.

To demonstrate that the trustees are making strides to improve the system, Schatz said the district has made about $80,000 worth of repairs to the system in recent years.

/local_news

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