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Overbrook residents win round 3 in legal battle with PWSA |

Overbrook residents win round 3 in legal battle with PWSA

Bob Bauder
| Friday, January 18, 2019 4:30 p.m
Homehurst Avenue in Overbrook on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

Residents of Homehurst Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Overbrook neighborhood have won round three in a long-running battle with the Pittsburgh Water Sewer Authority over a sewer line on their street.

Five residents — Natalie Leon, Jaime Wagner, Louise Sell, Christopher Cratsley and James Rauber — contend that PWSA has refused since 2014 to repair a faulty line. PWSA contends the line is private and the responsibility of property owners to maintain.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert J. Colville on Tuesday sided with an Allegheny Health Department hearing officer, who has twice ruled that the line is public and should be repaired by PWSA. PWSA in 2017 appealed the ruling in county court.

“We’re happy,” Leon said on Friday. “We hope that PWSA will step up to the plate, meet their obligation and fix our line. This is ridiculous. It’s been over four years now.”

It was unclear if PWSA would mount another appeal.

“We’re reviewing the decision and considering our options,” spokesman Will Pickering said. He declined further comment.

Residents in April filed a complaint pending before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

They contend that Pittsburgh had maintained the line for 80 years since it annexed a portion of Baldwin Township that included their street. They said PWSA declared it private in 2014 when it ruptured and spewed raw sewage into the street.

PWSA that year filed a complaint with the health department, which has jurisdiction because of the public health hazard.

The heath department sided with the residents on two occasions, ruling that PWSA failed to provide evidence that the line was privately installed and that “government entities, not individual homeowners” were responsible for the cost of repairs and maintenance.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, or via Twitter @bobbauder.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, or via Twitter .

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