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Cesspool user facing lockout

August 08, 2000

Cesspool user facing lockout



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


A Hagerstown man may be locked out of his house Friday morning to force his compliance with a court order to stop using a failed cesspool that is leaking raw sewage into the road.

George Shingleton of 542 Pangborn Boulevard said a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy delivered a restraining order Monday evening directing him to stop using his existing sewage system, an overflowing cesspool, by 10 a.m. Friday. The restraining order was requested by the Maryland Department of the Environment in a lawsuit filed last Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Shingleton said the state may have to lock him out of the house to enforce the restraining order.

MDE spokesman Richard McIntire said "there is the potential" that Shingleton will be locked out of the house.

The state's lawsuit is also seeking a $1,000 penalty and an order that Shingleton hook up to Hagerstown's sewer service.

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Meanwhile, Shingleton paid $1,215 Tuesday to apply for a permit to connect to Hagerstown's sewer system. But he said even with the permit he doesn't know when he'll be able to connect to the public sewer system because the city is requesting he pay another $800 fee to cut into the road. Shingleton said the permits and fees are too costly.

"They keep adding money to it. Now it's another $800. I'm not a bank," Shingleton said. "I don't think it'll be fixed anytime soon."

Shingleton lives just outside the city limits but is within the city's sewer service area, said Austin Abraham, city project coordinator. Abraham said Shingleton is being asked to pay the standard connection fees.

Shingleton said his cesspool is a stone-lined pit buried under his front yard. He said he did not notice the cesspool overflowing until 1999. Shingleton said he did not know how the problem started, but said construction at the nearby Fairgrounds Park may have cracked the stones in his cesspool, allowing groundwater to seep into the pit.

Shingleton said it's water from an underground stream that's causing his cesspool to overflow. He said it should be the state's responsibility to fix the problem because "it's not my fault it failed."

According to the lawsuit, Shingleton has been cited twice by the Washington County Health Department for allowing sewage to leak from the cesspool and failing to correct the problem. The Health Department issued nuisance abatement notices to Shingleton in July 1999 and Feb. 2000. In Oct. 1999, Shingleton was convicted of failing to comply with the abatement notice, according to the lawsuit.

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