Ashland sewer 2020-01-15 023
Local News

Homewood to cover Ashland Avenue sewer repairs

The village will pay for repairs to the sewer main that caused problems in several homes on the 18800 block of Ashland Avenue in Homewood.

Crews work on Jan. 15 to repair problems with the
sewer service at the home of Blake Pinto in the
18800 block of Ashland Avenue in Homewood.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

The village will pay for repairs to the sewer main that caused problems in several homes on the 18800 block of Ashland Avenue in Homewood.

The village's statement said: “The village will be incurring the cost of repairs to the village sewer main, as well as portions of homeowners’ sewer lines affected as a result of these repairs. Public works continues to investigate the sewer main on the entire block. Affected residents are being notified of the repairs the village will be undertaking.”

A problem was first discovered on Dec. 30 when Blake and Emily Pinto’s home at 18838 Ashland Ave. was flooded with sewage through a drainage tile in their basement causing over $30,000 in damage. 
Originally, the village determined that the damage had occurred away from the sewer main and was therefore the responsibility of the homeowners. 
The Pinto family’s insurance would only pay for the damage inside the home after a $1,500 deductible. The excavation of portions of the driveway and front yard and repairs to the pipes would be paid out of pocket. A GoFundMe page was started for the Pintos and raised $13,590. 
During further investigation, the village found that the connection between the sewer main and the pipe to the residence was damaged. The tee fitting would need to be replaced.
“The sewer’s made out of clay pipe, about 60 years old,” Director of Public Works John Schaefer said. “By excavating down to the tee on the main, we’ll also be disrupting the private service line to make that connection. We can’t replace the tee without disrupting the service line.”
Work was expected to begin Wednesday, Jan. 22, and public works officials were keeping residents in the area informed, Schaefer said, adding public works found pipes to other homes on the block were in need of repairs and those will be made, as well.
Pinto told supporters via the GoFundMe page that Homewood will be paying the remaining $19,000 balance for his sewage repairs. The Pinto family plans to donate funds raised beyond the cost of their expenses to one of the other families in the area. 
“It could be happening (in other places in the village). I can’t say that it is or is not. The sewers are old in the town,” Schaefer said. “That’s why we are having a program to look at the sewers and put priority on them on which ones need to be replaced, relined or refurbished.” 
Schaefer said homeowners can pay for a camera inspection of their lines, often referred to as televising. That can cost from several hundred dollars or over $1,000, but the testing would allow a resident to get ahead of a potential problem.  
Homewood periodically smoke tests at-risk sewer lines throughout the village. A non-toxic smoke is pumped into the sewer line to find cracks in pipes. 
“That’s not a complete method but it may show smoke coming out in their front lawn or near their house, which means there’s a problem with that pipe,” Schaefer said. “This coming year we started a schedule with that and we’re going to be hitting certain areas and working through the entire town.”
That work can’t be done while the ground is frozen, but public works will be doing testing along Ashland Avenue, Schaefer said. Last summer, it was done in the area of Hillview Road south of 183rd Street. 
“We have spoken to residents (on Ashland Avenue) and informed them of what’s been going on,” Schaefer said. “So far, everybody seems to be working with us and OK with everything.”

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