Baldwin Borough ordered to fix sewage problem
The basement of the more-than-100-year-old home still smells from the 4 feet of sewage that filled the area repeatedly during the last several years, its owner says.
“I feel bad for anybody that's flooded with water. But when it's sewage, there's really not much you can do with the things but get rid of them,” said Bob Ganther, 53.
The 23-year Brentwood Road resident said he has pleaded with Baldwin officials for the last several years to find a way to stop sewage in borough lines from entering his home.
“The water, it saturated into the foundation. It's not drying out, so I have sewage smell throughout my entire house. We tried to have this taken care of. Evidently, this borough is very uncaring and doesn't care what is going on,” Ganther told Baldwin Borough council members last week when he asked once again for officials to close Brentwood Road because of the large number of speeders that cause frustrations for those living on the back street.
After the latest flood at Ganther's home, on July 9 and 10, Baldwin Borough officials placed a camera into the sewer line and determined there was no problem with the system, borough manager John Barrett said.
Fixing the problem in the Streets Run Watershed, where sewage flows from Brentwood into Baldwin, then into Pittsburgh — would require a large-scale multimunicipal project to upsize the pipes, Barrett said. A project of this magnitude likely would not occur until around 2025, he said.
Ganther said the problem needs to be resolved now, and he sought the help of the Allegheny County Health Department's Public Drinking Water & Waste Management Program.
A letter from program chief Geoffrey Butia, sent to Baldwin Borough officials on Sept. 17, stated that the backup of sewage into a residence is a violation of the county health department's rules and regulations for sewage management and that the condition constitutes a health hazard.
The letter gave Baldwin officials 14 days to submit a plan and schedule to the health department outlining a way the borough will provide interim protection to Ganther's home from sewage backup. Options could include a backwater valve or grinder pump, the letter stated. The borough also has 10 days to appeal.
Brentwood Borough, too, which border's Ganther's property, received a letter asking the municipality to review its lines and work with Baldwin to fix the problem.
“We'd like both municipalities to take a look at their lines and see if they're causing this,” health department spokesman Guillermo Cole said.
Situations where sewage overflows and enters a home are not rare, Cole said.
“It does happen,” he said. In those instances, like this, health department officials typically will intervene in an effort to determine the problem and help alleviate it, he said.
Plumbers representing Baldwin, Ganther and the health department all were at the Brentwood Road home on Monday to review the situation, Barrett said.
Borough officials need to get more information from the health department before determining what to do, Barrett said.
He said borough officials do not want to be responsible for future upkeep of a device — such a backflow preventer — once it is installed on private property.
Ganther said he shouldn't have the responsibility of maintaining such a device on his property, either.
“It shouldn't be me,” he said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baldwin-Whitehall kids camp offers learning, fun combined
- Pleasant Hills officials set chicken ordinance
- Section of Brownsville gets Hollywood ‘makeunder’ for Gyllenhaal movie
- Balwin-Whitehall teachers don’t take a vacation when it comes to learning about technology
- Consultant to help Brentwood Borough officials choose EMS provider
- Baldwin the site of band competition
- Pleasant Hills officials discuss deer management
- Baldwin Borough Public Library is looking for more friends
- Baldwin prepares for Aug. 2 Community Day