Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Dialogue Begins with Your Comments....

The Down the Drain in HP blog has started to receive some reader comments. Thank you!

For various reasons, not everyone who has sent comments wants to be published. Comments do not automatically get placed on the blog. The Blogger program requires an additional action to publish comments. So, if you intend to share information with this blogger but don't want to be published, you can either submit anonymously (which will be published without your name) or with a request that it not be published. If you're thinking about adding a comment, please do.

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A neighbor informs us that a petition was circulated among the 2008-2009 residents affected by the sewer program. About 5 pages of signatures were acquired. The petition was then submitted to Council prior to the December 3 & 4 meetings. It is very impressive that this important initiative to gain signatures took place. Of course, it is also unacceptable that it was necessary to get those signatures because City Hall wouldn't listen to the many individual voices.

This petition was circulated by three people going door to door collecting signatures. (If you'd like a copy of the petition, please send the blog a request.) According to them, they didn't find one person in favor of the Master Plan. Not a surprise. They also found only a small number of people who had experienced flooded basements. From our perspective, there is more flooding going on in Highland Park than people want to acknowledge, most likely because they fear it will depreciate their home upon sale if flooding is admitted. We know and have been told by the City about the various sewers that are undersized.

In circulating the petition, they report finding that some neighbors were, in general, a little perplexed about the difference between storm sewers and sanitary sewers, especially with regard to flooding. We can explore these questions further but, in essence, if your basement floods with sanitary sewer water it smells a lot different than when it floods with storm water. Neither is appealing, both need disinfectant post flooding, but the sanitary sewers are really nasty because they are designed for human waste and to send water for treatment. The confusion between these two systems is exacerbated by our City Manager and the Mayor telling you that your sanitary sewers are flooding your next door neighbor's home, especially when you know that just isn't so.

It is reported that one neighbor who had experienced sewer flooding purchased a $10 valve from the hardware store which solved his basement sewer flooding issue. "Imagine that - no consultants needed!"

Great minds thinking alike, we just installed a check valve and a standpipe in our basement for a lot more than $10 yet for a very small fraction of the cost associated with the City Hall's Master Plan. Please note, this was not to repair a sanitary sewer problem, because it doesn't exist. We paid for this installation in an effort to protect our home from the City's undersized storm sewers. It is assumed that the proud owner of a $10 check valve was doing the same. (We're not recommending the check valve or the standpipe from either of the hyperlinked sites. They hyperlinks are provided as a convenience only and we've no experience with these products. Also, in our house, there hasn't been enough experience to know if it will work when needed.)

The anonymous commenter concluded: "I agree that despite the City's approach to take a year off to 'convince us' that this is the right thing to do, we need to continue to be a unified voice in the community." Well said!

Again, thanks for reading the blog and all of your comments!

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