By MELINDA WILLIAMS
The town of Dublin has submitted a claim under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act seeking reimbursement of costs to repair its EPA-damaged sewer line, but no response has been received yet.
Town Manager Bill Parker said the latest compensation request was filed with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Washington, D.C. office rather than the office in Philadelphia.
A contractor hired by the EPA on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) drilled through a main sewer line in November while installing monitoring wells at Electroplate-Rite. The contractor not only drilled through the line, but also pumped it full of concrete, requiring Dublin to hire H.T. Bowling to replace 45 feet of sewer line at a cost of $22,675.
Nevertheless, the EPA denies liability, and has refused to reimburse the town.
In an April letter to U.S. Senator Mark Warner, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin indicated the EPA “has no liability for this incident” because it “took all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure that any drilling activities would not disturb underground facilities.”
Garvin added, “The Township was unaware of the location of an unmarked sewer line. Utilities did not seem to be present,” based on Miss Utility and the soft digs conducted on the site.
“Without liability, there is no statutory authority under which EPA can reimburse repair costs,” Garvin stated.
Other than applying for reimbursement through the act mentioned above, Parker recommended the town not “spend more money chasing” a reimbursement.
Parker did suggest the town has “a snowball’s chance” of being reimbursed under the Act. He said he isn’t holding his breath in anticipation of receiving a check.