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Norton homeowners upset with sewer project problems

Posted at 9:53 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 23:13:51-05

NORTON, Ohio — Some Norton residents living along Clark Mill Road are concerned about safety after they reported a nearly completed sewer line project has left them with a deep drainage trench in front of their homes.

Homeowner Gary Cowling said the trench is now four feet deep in some areas and he's concerned a vehicle could easily fall in, causing a terrible accident.

“Every winter we have people in there and this ridiculously worse,” Cowling said.

"Someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed if they fall into that trench."

Cowling said the contractor on the sewer project also backed over his gas meter, causing multiple leaks and a disruption in gas service.

Cowling said the contractor paid for the labor to fix the leaks, but he had to pay for new piping.

Homeowners said the sewer project is in the City of Norton, but is under the guidance of the Barberton water and sewer department after Barberton took over those Norton departments in 2016.

Norton city leaders said it allowed Barberton to handle its water and sewer needs and projects because it made good financial sense.

But residents Joe Kazy and Joe Sonntag told News 5 it's been tough to get a complete response from either city and they're concerned Barberton could raise water and sewer rates in the near future.

“Once we get rid of all of our pumping stations, we lose all that control," Kazy said.

"Then all goes 100% to Barberton and Barberton gets to pick and choose who pays what and how much.”

“The residents are at the mercy of Barberton, what Barberton wants to do, rather than Norton having some kind of say,” Sonntag said.

Norton City Council President Joe Kernan and the Barberton Building Deprtment responded quickly and said they would revisit the situation.

Barberton said it would contact the project contractor and see if the drainage ditch can be re-excavated to make it safer and would discuss whether the contractor would also help with the gas piping cost.

“So either the city needs to step up, the City of Barberton, or the City of Norton, or the contractor needs to step-up and do the right thing,” Kazy said.