Sewer Problem at Orchard Hills Villas

We have definitely found that there is a sewer issue at Orchard Hills Villas with the existing sewer line.  The issue is that previous work on Fox Chase Rd. sewer was not done correctly.  The city council has been asked to have the taxpayers fix this.  While I am very supportive of Orchard Hills Villas and think it is a great project, I am not willing to put additional taxpayer subsidies into the area.  Here is the staff note from Doug Nelson:

The Issue:

The Orchard Hills Villa area has a sanitary sewer issue that needs to be resolved.   A portion of existing sanitary sewer (approx. 10 feet) and a portion of the new sanitary sewer recently installed under the Orchard Hills Villa City Owner contract (approx. 50 feet), need to be removed and reinstalled at an acceptable grade / pipe slope that facilitates proper sewage drainage.  The existing pipe grades are such that sewage waste could accumulate, potentially causing a backup to the homes and future homes upstream of this point.


An eight inch sanitary sewer main was installed in Fox Chase Rd SW, as a part of the City Owner contract for Orchard Hills North in 2001, by the developers (Michael Younge) contractor, Road Constructors Inc. (RCI).   The inspection and record drawings of that work were performed by the developer’s consultant, Yaggy Colby & Associates.   Paper records indicated that RCI terminated the sanitary sewer 100 feet from the last manhole at a grade of 0.6 percent.

In late September 2009, the Condon’s hired Preferred Construction as part of their home building project to install a public manhole at the end of the existing public main in Fox Chase Road and install a sanitary sewer service lateral from that manhole to their property.  At that time is was noted that the main segment was only 65 feet; however, this shorter segment length was adequate for the Condon’s needs.

In 2011, Michael Younge initiated the development of Orchard Hills Villas.  His consultant, G-Cubed prepared plans that showed the sanitary sewer service for this new development would connect to the manhole in Fox Chase Road built under the Condon’s sanitary sewer permit.  In October 2011, the developer’s contractor, Schumacher Excavating installed the sanitary sewer mains, manholes, and service laterals for the Orchard Hills Villa development in accordance with the plans prepared by G-Cubed and approved by the City.

During the installation acceptance process, it was discovered that sewage was accumulating in the manhole installed by Condon’s contractor.   Further investigation by Public Works staff included TVing the pipe and entry into the manholes.  It was discovered that:  the pipe installed in 2001 by RCI was neither the correct length or grade and that the end section of the pipe has a reserved pitch to it and the manhole installed by Preferred Construction in 2009 had settled or was installed at a lower grade than required and the pipe was not properly installed into the manhole.

These contributing factors have caused staff to conclude that the sewer piping that was in-place prior to the Orchard Hills Villas construction creates an unacceptable physical deficiency in the sanitary sewer piping system.  Also, staff recommends removing the deficient pipe and relaying it to a more acceptable grade is necessary.


Due to the age of past actions that occurred (2001 and 2009), the City does not have reasonable recourse against any of the former contractors or parties involved to be held responsible for the cost of the remedy.   As such, staff is recommending that the city except financial responsibility for the deficiency in the existing sewer system and enter into a contract with Schumacher Excavating (who is on site and capable of doing the work) to remove / repair the 50 to 60 feet of sanitary sewer pipe to an acceptable grade and installation.  The estimated cost of this emergency action is $15,000.

I disagree with the request, here is why:

I have been very supportive of the project, cooperation, quality of work Michael Younge is doing at Orcahrd Hills Villas, but I have a hard time supporting this expenditure of $15,000 to fix work that was done incorrectly in the past.  At issue here is the fact that we would be providing a subsidy to a private project that benefits the very same person who was responsible for the incorrect work being done in the first place.  I disagree that we don’t have reasonable recourse to demand a fix.  The fact is that if we do nothing the project can not be completed, thus the developer would have to make the fixes he is responsible for.

In 2001, Michael Younge was responsible for a sewer project that was done and documented incorrectly.  Now in 2011, staff is asking us to put up tax payer money to make some corrections so Michael Younge can do another project.  If we say no, Michael Younge has to fix Michael Younge’s problem.  Seems fair.  That’s just karma…

With regards to 2009, I don’t think that is so long ago that we shouldn’t expect a fix.

If any taxpayer funding is put out for this project, I would ask that the parties responsible for the failed work be excluded from working within the city right-of-way for a period of 5 years.  This sends the message that we will not tolerate incompetence.

Unless there is something that I am understanding, I don’t want to put the taxpayers on the hook here.

I don’t like being asked to fix other people’s screw-ups.  I hope we didn’t inspect the work…

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