Village says school blocks access to manhole

Portsmouth Daily Times

January 3, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

The village of New Boston is waiting for the state of Ohio to install an access road leading to a sewer manhole at the newly opened New Boston School on Lakeview Avenue, and Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said he won’t approve the school’s final plans until that access is given.

Without access, he said, the village service department is unable to clean out blockages that might backup sewage into surrounding homes and the new school.

Hamilton said the construction plans originally submitted to him used holding tanks to retain displaced water. During construction it was found that the school needed additional holding space, and the plan was redesigned to use the terrace next to the New Boston Stadium as a holding pond.

“We have two manholes in there on that 20-inch main sewer system that comes through there that feeds from North Moreland and Milldale and the upper-end of New Boston. They dug the holding pond out and now the manhole is about 10-feet to 12-feet above the ground and we have no road to get to it to clean it out,” Hamilton said.

The only access to the manhole, he said, is a six-foot wide dirt road which is not wide enough for village trucks to access.

“We’ve got to have access to that manhole, because Maple Street, Oak and all them feed into the main coming off Harrisonville right down to that 20-inch main. If it gets blocked there and we have no way of getting to that manhole, it could backup a lot of sewage into peoples’ houses and stuff, and into the school,” he said.

Hamilton brought the issue to the New Boston School Board on Dec. 20, and said he was told he needed to take it to the Ohio School Facilities Commission. He said he did send it to the OSFC, but has not yet had a response. In the meantime, Hamilton said he needs it resolved, and he’s not going to approve the school’s final site plans until it is.

“They’re supposed to give me as-builts (plans) since I’m the floodplain manager. I’m not going to sign off on any of the flooding or the redesign or anything they did up there until that road is in there,” he said. “I’d say then ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) would get involved and go after the state or go after the school, whoever is responsible.”

New Boston Superintendent Mike Staggs said on Thursday that he understands the village’s concern, but really that is up to the state — not the school — to resolve.

“It’s all construction, and we weren’t in charge of construction. We have no control over that at all. It’s completely out of our hands,” Staggs said. “As the project was going on, we became aware of these, and I’m sure the construction managers were aware of them. But even the construction managers aren’t the OSFC. Our board and myself have really absolutely nothing to say about it because it’s construction that was done by the OSFC and they’re 100 percent responsible.”

Rick Savors, media relations manager for the OSFC, said the commission has asked the civil engineer involved with the project to take a look at the situation and develop options for addressing it.

“Once we hear back from the engineer, we will work with the project team to pick the right solution and move forward. Not sure of the timeframe,” he said, “That will depend on what the final recommendation is and how soon we get a report back from the engineer.”

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@portsmouth-dailytimes.com.