Raw sewage leak bedevils residents of an Overbrook street in Pittsburgh

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 1 hour ago Raw sewage is flowing on an Overbrook street and residents say the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is ignoring repeated requests to unclog a leaking line. The Allegheny County Health Department...

Raw sewage leak bedevils residents of an Overbrook street in Pittsburgh

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Updated 1 hour ago

Raw sewage is flowing on an Overbrook street and residents say the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is ignoring repeated requests to unclog a leaking line.

The Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday declared the situation on Homehurst Avenue a public health hazard and ordered PWSA to make repairs immediately. It also gave the authority 10 days to submit written plans for repairing the maintaining the sewer line.

Residents said sewage was still flowing on Friday.

“We have a disaster going on over here and nobody's doing anything,” said Natalie Leon, 70, who lives on Homehurst. “This has been going on for three weeks. Sewage is running all through the street. The school children who walk to the bus have to walk through it.”

Bernard Lindstrom, PWSA's interim executive director, declined comment when asked if the authority would comply with the health department order.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak of Carrick, who represents Overbrook, said failure to repair the line is an “example of PWSA shirking it's public responsibility.

“There's sewage in the street,” she said. “It's a public health hazard.”

Residents have been battling with PWSA since October 2014 over the line that the authority contends is private and the responsibility of homeowners to maintain. The health department in December ruled during a hearing that the line is public and is PWSA's responsibility.

Lindstrom said PWSA intends to install a new line. In a Feb. 16 letter sent to 13 Homehurst residents, he estimated the cost at $574,000 and said homeowners would be required to contribute $7,227 apiece or face liens on their properties.

Leon said the homeowners have rejected the proposal because the sewer line is owned by the city.

“They want to charge us a tap-in fee, and they can't do that because we are a public line,” she said. “They cannot assess us anything.”

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