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Failing Sewage Line Could Prove Costly for Some Lyon Park Homeowners

Home on the corner of N. Danville and 9th Streets (via Google Maps)Homeowners on the 900 block of N. Daniel and Danville Streets in Lyon Park may have to shell out thousands of dollars to keep their toilets flushing.

A deteriorating, 85-year-old sewage line that runs along the back of residents’ yards was determined, after “extensive research” by county staff, to be privately-owned — built as part of the original development on the block.

Though county workers have in the past cleared the line of blockages, that “cannot continue… because of the extent of deterioration and because the County has no rights to operate or maintain this line,” wrote Dave Hundelt, Arlington County’s Streets Manager, in a letter to a dozen impacted homeowners.

“This line is in failing condition and is beyond repair,” Hundelt wrote. “This is due to the age of the line, its state of deterioration and the physical obstructions that make replacement of this line impractical.”

Residents are being told that they’ll have to construct a lateral connection from their homes to the county-owned sewage lines that run along the street.

Such work typically varies in cost from $5,000 to $10,000, according to Kewin Greenhill, general manager of Ashton Heights-based All Plumbing, Inc. The least expensive option requires a trench to be dug across the homeowners’ front yard. The pricier option can be done less invasively, by use of a pneumatic mole.

If homeowners don’t install a new connection, “the consequences of a failed sewer line would make your home uninhabitable,” Hundelt wrote.

The County is holding a meeting with affected homeowners on Nov. 13 at Key Elementary School. Hundelt promised to arrange follow-up meetings as necessary.

One resident, who did not want to be identified by name, said she felt the county is “abandoning us” by so far not offering to pick up the tab.

“Are we really at the mercy of poor record-keeping on the part of the County after all these years?” she wrote on a neighborhood listsev. “Do we have any rights? Any expectation for financial help, especially those over 70 and on fixed incomes?”

The full letter from Hundelt, after the jump.

Photo via Google Maps

The County will hold a meeting on Wednesday November 13, 2013 from 7:00p.m. to 8:30p.m. at Key Elementary School, 2300 Key Blvd, in the library, to discuss the private sanitary sewer that runs along the back of your property line. This line is in failing condition and is beyond repair. This is due to the age of the line, its state of deterioration and the physical obstructions that make replacement of this line impractical. It cannot be expected to continue to provide reliable service and the consequences of a failed sewer line would make your home uninhabitable.

The sewer line, built approximately 85 years ago as part of the properties’ development in the 900 blocks of North Daniel Street and North Danville Street, is a private line and is failing. The County has periodically cleared the line of blockages so the properties served by it could continue to have sewer service. This cannot continue, however, because of the extent of deterioration and because the County has no rights to operate or maintain this line. The determination that this line is private was made after extensive research bv our Real Estate Bureau for easements and other documentation. As a result, you and other residents who are connected to this line will need to take the appropriate action necessary to construct a lateral connecting your home to the existing County-owned sanitary sewers located m both North Daniel Street and North Danville Street.

We strongly encourage you to attend the November 13th meeting where County staff will provide an overview of this situation, the current risks, and the steps required for you to construct a new lateral connecting your home to the County’s line in the street in front of your home. Because the relocation of laterals poses unique challenges for each property, County staff is willing to schedule individual follow-on meetings with the affected homeowners to answer additional questions.

Sincerely,

Dave Hundelt
Chief Operating Engineer

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