Kirkland sewer wars being waged in court
Published Tuesday, April 3, 2012 10:33AM EDT
The city of Kirkland is taking some of its residents to court over its sewer connection repair issues.
In February 2011 the city notified about 150 residents that their sewer lines were improperly connected four decades ago and needed to be replaced because they were sending sewage directly into Lac St. Louis.
Residents were stuck with bills of up to $5,000, but the city said it would cover up to 50 percent or $1,800 of the costs, whichever was lower.
Several home-owners refused to accept responsibility for what they see as the city's problem.
"I did not build the house," said Basile Maalouf. "I did not inpsect it. I did not sign the papers and the house went through. I'm maybe the third or fourth owner."
Now Maalouf is being sued over his refusal to pay. He's one of six people on his street who has been ordered to pay for the repairs, but his is the only one on his street going to court.
Benjia Calcetas bought his home in 1976, and says the city should have to foot the bill entirely since its inspectors approved the sewer connections.
"All of a sudden after 36 years I receive a letter saying it is my fault I cross connected the pipes. How could I do that? I'm not a plumber by trade," said Calcetas.
The city of Kirkland recently lost a defamation lawsuit with one of its residents over content in a community blog, and announced on Monday that it will appeal.
Mayor John Meaney said the city will not discuss that case, the lawsuit against Maalouf, and a third against another household.
"It's under legal case and I cannot discuss it any further," said Meaney.
Citizens of Kirkland say they have more than 2,300 signatures on a petition to have the city pick up the full cost of the sewer repairs.
Many say if the suburb doesn't change its mind, they will move out.
"Next year if we still have the same mayor, same councillors, I'm moving," said Therese Baco.