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Resident discovers odd sewer problem in Rock Falls

After paying for city water for decade, he learns he has septic

Published: Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 10:27 a.m. CST

ROCK FALLS – Clinton Frymire started having sewer problems at his Avenue C home earlier this summer. When someone came to look at it, Frymire’s situation became much more complicated.

Frymire conveyed the unusual findings to the Public Works/Public Property Committee Thursday.

“In December 2003, we bought this house and moved in,” he said. “When we had the problem looked at, we found we were hooked up to septic, and we’ve been paying for city sewer ever since.”

Frymire, who had his family with him, said he has been hooked up to city water but not sewer service.

“I feel like we’ve been paying twice for 10 years,” he said.

City Administrator Robbin Blackert, who spoke with Frymire prior to the meeting, explained that the Frymires were told they were on city sewer, and liability in the situation is with the seller who signed off on the sale.

“Under state law, the city is not responsible until they know about it,” Blackert said. “You need to go after the people who disclosed you were on city sewer.”

Frymire’s wife reiterated that they paid for a service they didn’t have.

“This is an unfortunate situation,” Blackert said. “Keep us in the loop, and we can review it after you talk to the seller.”

To make matters worse, because the family didn’t know they were on septic, the system had never been maintained in all those years. At some point, an iron pipe had been reconfigured to the cistern.

Clinton Frymire was asked if he had an attorney present at the closing. He said he did not have legal representation. The family agreed to pursue the matter with the seller.

In other business, the committee discussed safety and ADA compliance issues with the patio and stairs at the RB&W entertainment site.

City Engineer Brian Frickenstein said the project would be an all-or-nothing proposition.

“If you start modifying this, you have to go the full 9 yards,” he said. “There’s fencing, an ADA-compliant ramp, sidewalks, and protrusions from the concrete.”

The cost, which would include handicapped parking space and two gates, was estimated at $15,000. The entertainment area will soon move across the street when the greenspace project is completed, so any fixes are for a short time frame.

“It’s just for one season, so plan B, using a concrete slab, might be the way to go,” Blackert said.

Also, the committee discussed several roads projects that need to be done, including a stretch of Buell Road from Route 30 to the substation. Assistant Streets Superintendent Larry Spinka said the department spends a tremendous amount of man-hours trying to patch the heavily used area.

The roads talk segued into the possibility of a half-cent sales tax referendum for that specific purpose.

“We will have to discuss this at the next Finance meeting,” Mayor Bill Wescott said. “Dec. 8 is the deadline for it to be on the April ballot.”

Blackert said she believes it needs to go on the ballot.

“This is the number one complaint we get, and they might vote it down, but they have to know that this is probably how the roads get done.”

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