Prospect Ave. residents must clean up mess

I read with interest the article about the ruptured sewer line on Prospect Avenue. When I first moved to my property, where I use a septic tank, I learned that at least two of my neighbors use the old private sewer that runs along the property line behind our houses, and which exits to the public sewer on a nearby street. In researching private sewers, I contacted a water engineer who has done significant research on Philadelphia’s water and sewer systems, who seriously cautioned about the wisdom of using such private sewers.

The neighbors who are upset that the city won’t do anything about their problem don’t have any recourse other than cleaning up the mess at their own expense.

The pipes are old clay ones. If they need to replace them with modern pipes, that will entail all of them agreeing to the expense and allowing heavy equipment to dig up their property lines. Thereafter, they should consider reviving the homeowners’ association, with written agreements regarding regular maintenance of the private lines, and liens enabling equipment on their properties to do the work.

The costs of repairing private sewers and of installing modern lines to the public sewer are entirely the property owners’ obligation, not the city’s.

Those property owners who don’t want to agree to maintain their private sewer might look into individual septic systems on their properties.

Best of luck to the property owners. They won’t win this one.

Judith Rényi
Chestnut Hill


Editor’s note: We learned on Monday as we were preparing this issue that the sewage leak on Prospect Avenue was fixed by a private contractor. We are planning a follow up story on the results and where the situation stands. More to come.