Century Old Pipes Leave Village Holding the Bill

DERBY LINE – Raw village sewage has flowed into a Derby Line home on Caswell Avenue on at least two occasions within about a week’s time. The homeowner was present for the village trustee’s regular meeting Tuesday evening. She had a bill from a local plumber and is expecting another bill. She said when her basement filled up with sewage she didn’t know where it was coming from, so she called the plumber. The next time the plumber showed up, he suggested she call the village. Brian Fletcher who works for the village, said the problem was the village’s responsibility. He has an auger with a camera, which can also indicate how far in the pipes the problem is. Roots around the pipes are blamed as the culprit.The village trustees voted and agreed to pay the bills and chairman Keith Beadle apologized to the homeowner.The homeowner had cleaned and disinfected the home by herself.Many of the village water and sewer lines are more than 100 years old. They need replacing, but the village doesn’t have the money for it. The estimated cost is $3 - 5 million. Trustee Perry Hunt suggested everyone “pray to the water genie.” He also noted that he saw a show where aging infrastructure is a problem throughout the country.Even though Derby Line is part of the International Water Company, each village is responsible for its own underground pipes.Hunt said the village water “is dirty” and Fletcher said there are breaks and cracks that the village workers keep repairing and the problems are happening more often now.At the annual meeting, voters opted to have the trustees monitor the situation and look into grants and loans instead of paying for the estimated $100,000 to conduct a study of the system.The village trustees are looking for grants or low interest loans, Beadle said, but “now is not a good time to ask the government for money.” He also said the village is still paying on a 40-year loan from around 1992. Trustees said they would consider starting a fund to make repairs.