The city of Pacific filed a lawsuit against the Brush Creek Sewer District for alleged breach of contract for numerous and ongoing violations.
The city is seeking at least $25,000 in monetary damages plus remedies for the alleged violations.
The city withheld service of the suit to give the sewer district time to voluntarily accept it and offer a good faith plan to remedy the claims.
Pacific treats waste collected by the Brush Creek Sewer District under an agreement entered into in July 2003. That agreement limits the amount of wastewater the district can discharge into the system to no more than 200,000 gallons a day and states that the district cannot add new nonresidential customers to the system without prior consent.
The suit, filed March 15 in St. Louis County Circuit Court, names the Brush Creek Sewer District, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Diamond Enterprises, LLC, owner-operator of Travelodge Hotel, Highway 100, Gray Summit.
When it entered into an agreement with the sewer district to treat wastewater, the city contemplated new construction of a system constructed with grants from government entities. The suit claims that the sewer district was inadequately constructed allowing stormwater to enter the system and has exceeded its 200,000-gallon limit on many occasions causing sewage backups in Pacific.
In addition, the sewer district connected the Travelodge Hotel to the sewer lines, in violation of the agreement.
The lawsuit states that Diamond Enterprises LLC applied for a sewer connection permit for the Travelodge Hotel, falsely stating that Pacific had the capacity to handle the connection and stating that it received consent from Pacific for the connection — even though Diamond had neither sought consent nor notified Pacific of the proposed hookup.
The DNR, the suit says, failed to notify the city of the application and failed to include the city on copies of the application, even though Pacific is the area-wide manager under the Federal Clean Water Act.
The suit alleges that DNR did not have authority to issue a permit to Diamond Enterprises because Diamond did not have consent from Pacific.
On Feb. 7, the city issued a stop work order to the sewer district and Diamond Enterprises to stop the connection before it became operational.
In spite of the stop work order, the connection was completed which added to the district’s flow violations, the suit stated.
The city has notified the district on numerous occasions of the 200,000-gallon limit violation and called for repairs to the system to prevent infiltration.
The suit asks that the sewer district pay damages to the city in excess of $25,000, the amount to be determined at trial, to cover the cost the city spent to address the problem, including attorney’s fees, engineering fees, increased personnel for the city to monitor manholes to prevent illegal discharge and sewer backups, and increased premiums.
In addition to monetary damages, the city wants the court to require that the sewer district immediately cease service to the Travelodge Hotel, comply with the 200,000-gallon limit and repair and maintain its system to prevent the further stormwater infiltration.
In the event it prevails, the city also is asking the court to require the sewer district to pay all legal costs incurred by the city.
In a letter dated March 15, addressed to the Franklin County Commission and the Brush Creek Sewer District, Pacific City Administrator Harold Selby said that the city still wants to resolve the issue and he asked the city attorney to delay service of the suit so the commissioners would have the opportunity to accept it voluntarily and say whether they wanted to start a good faith dialogue before further actions in the litigation.