Lisbon BPA responds to Auto Corral issue
Article VII-Section 6 (a) of the Lisbon Sewer Use Ordinance reads:
No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged, either directly or indirectly, any of the following described waters or wastes to any public sewer: Any gasoline, benzene, naphtha, fuel oil, or other flammable or explosive liquid, solid or gas.
This letter is our response to the recent stories and letters published in your paper regarding the Elkton Auto Corral and the village of Lisbon. To this point we have remained silent, though working tirelessly to quickly, fairly and safely assist in resolving this matter. We come forward as there has been a lot of misinformation released to the media. The following is a timeline of facts:
Many years ago there was a gas station on the property, which is now the Elkton Auto Corral. At some point, oil was leaked into the ground, and the successor company, British Petroleum, was ordered to create a fund and provide a cleanup plan for this property.
Two years ago our village contracted for a sewer separation project. During that time, the employees working on the project noticed a strong odor of a petroleum product running from the sewer line at the building that is now the Elkton Auto Corral. At the time the building was vacant and owned by the bank as a result of a foreclosure. Pursuant to our policy, we contacted the owner of the building, which was a bank in Texas, to place them on notice that in light of the gaseous odor, we had to close the sewer line. This action was taken to protect the public and county sewer treatment plants from being compromised with this type of material.
At some point, Jay and Susan Mullen purchased this property, without doing any type of inspection. They opened the business known as the Elkton Auto Corral. Once they realized that the property was not connected to the public sewer, they approached the village for help. On Nov. 26, 2013, members of this board along with Mayor Bing sat down with Mrs. Mullen in an effort to rectify their problem in a safe way.
The village advised the Mullens that it is the property owner’s responsibility for the laterals from the building to the sewer. We stated that we could waive any tap-in fee, and assist as best we could, but that we could not reconnect the closed laterals, and noted that a new line must be installed due to the contamination in the existing lines. We also stated that we could not use the fees that all village residents pay for water and sewer to clean up an oil spill caused by a private company. At this point in the meeting, Mrs. Mullen advised us that they (the Mullens) upon purchasing the property had signed a “no dig” clause with BP OIl and that no private contractor could touch the job because of it.
We also advised that if the oil mess was not cleaned up, and if the line was not made with force made material (as opposed to clay, which would leak the prohibited substance into our public sewer), then the village would risk being fined by the EPA for contaminating the public sewer.
Installing the sewer lines in this circumstance requires special expertise, that we believe BP should pay for. It would be irresponsible to use precious public money to clean up a mess made by a multi-billion dollar oil company. Further it would violate our policy, as it is the responsibility of the property owner to pay for its own laterals to connect to the sewer.
We value the business and tax dollars that the Elkton Auto Corral brings to our village. We have and will continue to assist them in any way that we can. However, we cannot compromise our sewer lines by allowing this job to not be done properly.
It should be noted that contact with BP Oil and acquiring the core samples to test for contaminates was made by the village not the property owners, and we will continue to assist them once the sample results are made known.
Throughout this process, we have encouraged the Mullens to seek legal counsel to aid them in making the appropriate parties accountable. They have refused to do so, and instead continue to demand something that we simply cannot do.
Board of Public Affairs chairman
And members of the board