The Washington City Council approved three ordinances Monday night related to a January sewer project.

On the first week of the new year, city crews moved and replaced an old sewer line. A block of Third Street between Jefferson and Market streets was closed to traffic in order to get the project finished.

At that time, Public Works Director John Nilges said the project wasn’t planned, but was the result of a homeowner discovering an old sewer line.

A homeowner on Third Street received a permit to replace their driveway. When the homeowner went to remove it, an old clay sewer was found under the ground. Further excavation revealed a sewer lateral that connected multiple property owners.

Nilges said at least four property owners were served by the line.

The old clay line was in poor shape and in need of replacement. The shared lateral was another issue.

Nilges said shared laterals exist in the city, usually in the older part of town. The city does not allow new shared laterals.

The city’s goal is to replace the shared laterals and take over maintenance.

Nilges said the issue with the shared nature of the laterals is ownership. For example, if one property owner is having issues but the lateral is on another property, the question becomes who is responsible.

Once the city became aware of the issue, it moved quickly to address it. The line was moved under city property so, in case of a future issue, the city doesn’t need a homeowner’s permission to address the problem.

The new pipe is made from PVC material, Nilges said.

To finalize the deal, Nilges said three easements were needed. The easements were with the three property owners impacted by the move — Cowboy Holdings LLC, David C. Kuschel and David and Sherry Ginnett.

By accepting the sewer as public, the city now takes over maintenance and the shared lateral situation is eliminated, Nilges said. 

The council approved the easements unanimously.