by Andrea Cole

Associate Editor

Stow -- For residents who must repair improper sewer connections, the May deadline to have the work done has been extended indefinitely, according to Summit County officials.

Last summer, nearly 200 residents received letters from the Summit County Department of Environmental Services stating they must repair improper sewer connections by the summer of 2007. Repairs could cost up to $5,000 per household, according to DOES Director David Marquard.

An original deadline of Feb. 15 was established for residents to notify DOES whether they would make the improvements or whether they wanted DOES to make the repairs.

According to DOES Deputy Director Mike Weant, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has extended the notification deadline to Dec. 31. He said letters about the deadline extension will be sent to residents in February.

The deadline for residents to complete the work also has been extended, said Weant. The original deadline for completion was May 31, 2007, he said. A new completion date has not yet been established.

Weant said along with offering an extension, DOES officials also hope to cover a portion of the costs through grants. Weant said he does not know how much of the costs a grant could cover.

"During the meetings we have had with the city and residents, they have requested that we apply for state Issue 2 grants," he said. "To apply, the plans must be 85 percent complete. We hope to submit the plans in June, and we won't know until November if we are eligible [for funding]."

Marquard said the county received a consent order from the Ohio EPA in 2005 stating improper connections to sanitary sewers in the area of Kenneth and Samira roads must be corrected.

According to Marquard, the county owns and maintains the city's main sewer system, and homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the systems on their property.

Stow Engineer Bill Drew said most homes in the city that have improper connections were built before 1960.

DOES will offer assessments for residents who have to repair improper connections, said Marquard, adding homeowners could have up to 10 years to pay for the repairs.

"The assessment would cost between 20 to 30 percent more for residents [than if residents repaired the connections on their own], but then they would not have to worry about finding a contractor to do the work," he said. "We would do the repairs and bill the residents."

For more information, call DOES at 330-926-2400.

E-mail: acole@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-686-3947