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State sues man over cesspool

August 07, 2000

State sues man over cesspool



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


The Maryland Department of the Environment says a Hagerstown man allowed sewage to flow into the street from a failed cesspool on his property and is suing to force him to connect to a public sewer system.

The state filed the lawsuit against George Shingleton of 542 Pangborn Boulevard last week in Washington County Circuit Court. In the lawsuit, the state is requesting a temporary restraining order to stop Shingleton from using the failed cesspool.

The state also asks that Shingleton be compelled to connect to a public sewer system and that he pay a $1,000 penalty.

According to the lawsuit, untreated or partially untreated sewage is seeping out of the ground at the edge of the property and flowing into the road, posing a health risk.

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The lawsuit states that two samples of a black liquid were taken from the property, one in May 1999 and the other last week. Tests of those samples revealed high levels of fecal coliform, a bacteria found in human waste.

On July 10, 2000, an MDE sanitarian and a sanitarian from the Washington County Health Department saw that the "ground at the edge of the property was saturated with a black odorous liquid that was overflowing from a hole in the ground on the property and flowing down Pangborn Boulevard," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that Shingleton has been cited twice by the Washington County Health Department for allowing sewage to leak from a failed cesspool and he has failed to correct the problem.

The health department issued nuisance abatement notices to Shingleton in July 1999 and Feb. 2000. In Oct. 1999, Singleton was convicted of failing to comply with the abatement notice, according to the lawsuit.

Attempts to contact Shingleton by telephone and in person were unsuccessful Monday.

Shingleton lives just outside the city limits but is within the city's sewer service area, said Austin Abraham, city project coordinator.

Abraham said the city has been talking with Shingleton about him becoming a new sewer customer for at least 10 months. Abraham said there is no agreement to connect Shingleton to the city sewer system.

According to Abraham, the city charges $15 for an application and a $1,200 benefit fee for connecting to the sewer system.

Also, property owners are responsible for installing sewer lines from the house or building to the main sewer line. For $1,200 the city will install sewer lines to connect the main sewer line to the edge of a resident's property, Abraham said.

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