Residents of Vandergrift high-rise report ‘sewage-cicles,’ other plumbing problems
Residents of McMurtry Towers in Vandergrift sent a petition to the Westmoreland County Housing Authority demanding that it do a better job of cleaning up a sewage-line break last month that reportedly formed “sewage-cicles” on the building’s front porch.
The sewage break in a second-floor apartment Feb. 8 caused raw sewage to go to other areas of the building, including the community room and front porch.
The Westmoreland County Housing Authority hired a plumber and restoration company to take care of the problem and found a new unit for the resident of the apartment where the break happened, according to Mike Washowich, the authority’s executive director.
The petition, signed by about 40 percent of the senior high-rise’s 100 residents, said the front porch area still has not been cleaned and disinfected.
Washowich disputed that claim, saying the restoration company had disinfected the impacted areas.
Resident Carole Trentin, 64, said, “It’s a slow process, and we’re still working to resolve everything.”
Trentin is one of several residents behind the petition drive. The sewage break happened in her daughter, Tammy Trentin’s, apartment.
Washowich said he is sympathetic to residents’ complaints noted in the petition about continuing plumbing and water-line issues.
‘We have the residents’ best interests in mind and are doing everything we can to fix the issues,” Washowich said. “However, fixing issues that are the result of an issue in a building more than 50 years old sometimes presents a serious challenge.”
The authority plans to repair and replace some plumbing lines in 2020. “In the meantime, we continue to address the issues to the best of our abilities. We ask residents to be patient and understand that issues happen in a building that is over 50 years old,” Washowich said.
Tammy Trentin is still living with her mother because her new apartment in the building has a foul odor caused by what she believes is a sewage or water issue.
“We are not bringing her furniture up there yet,” Carole Trentin said. “We’re going to wait until that smell is out of her apartment.”
Trentin said she hopes the authority resolves the problem soon because McMurtry Towers has otherwise been a great place to live.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .