From The Gazette

Kirkland

Pipe repairs still plague Kirkland

Although Kirkland has relented on compensation for crossed drainage pipe repairs, a number of homeowners are still voicing their concerns.

Council adopted a notice of motion Monday to put its amended reimbursement policy into law. The city is now willing to pay up to $5,000 for repair costs at most homes affected by the pipe problem, including any related landscaping work.

The contentious issue of repairing crossed-connected drainage and sewage pipes has been brewing since early 2011. From initially offering nothing, council opted for a reimbursement policy of up to $1,800 last year, but then, after acknowledging it had paid for crossed-pipe repairs at homes decades ago, it announced its current policy in August.

Residents have until June 2013 to submit their repair bills for reimbursement. All homeowners must sign a waiver acknowledging responsibility to be eligible for the offer. The city maintains the crossed pipes, which led to raw sewage contaminating nearby waterways, are the responsibility of homeowners and funding is only being offered because it’s an environmental issue.

Following inspections, crossed-pipe repairs have so far been completed at about 175 homes, with about 25 outstanding cases, city manager Joe Sanalitro said Monday. He said only a few homeowners have refused to make repairs and there are some instances of homes yet to be inspected.

“Council will have to make a decision of what to do for those that refuse,” he added.

Officials confirmed that the municipality paid the legal bill of councillor André Allard, who lost a defamation case against blogger Sergei Brovkin over posts related to the crossed-pipe repair issue.

The city took two other homeowners to court earlier this year for not carrying out pipe repairs. They later complied and had the work done, but they want the city to pay their legal costs.

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