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Barben Avenue couple still wants city sewer hookup


WATERTOWN — A Barben Avenue couple is still waiting to hear from the city about whether their property will be hooked up to Watertown’s sewer system.

Councilman Joseph M. Butler Jr. said he believes the city should decide one way or another whether Peter J. and Libby S. Dephtereos will get a city sewer hookup for their home at 285 Barben Ave. He noted the couple has waited for several months to find out.

Monday night the couple attended the Watertown City Council meeting to find out the status of their request. Mr. Dephtereos told the council he needs to know because at some point he will have to replace a leach field for their septic system if the city does not agree to give them a sewer hookup.

City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk put issued a written report with an updated project cost. Council members may discuss it at a work session Monday night, he said.

Mr. Hauk projected it would cost $75,000 if it includes lateral lines directly to the Dephtereoses’ home and to their neighbor’s property at 282 Barben Ave. If it includes only the sewer line along the street, the cost would be about $50,000, he said. The money would come out the sewer fund.

But the sewer hookup will financially affect neighbor Susan Favreau, who told the city she has no interest in converting her septic tank to the city sewer system after a plumber estimated the cost at $7,000 to $8,000.

Tuesday Ms. Favreau called Mr. Hauk to learn what was happening with the project. He explained that the city could pay the upfront costs and the neighbors could pay over time, much as a city sidewalk improvement is handled.

Residents would be charged a small amount of interest and possibly take 10 years to pay the city back.

Mr. Hauk invited Ms. Favreau to Monday’s work session in case council members had questions for her. “I’m hoping we can get her thoughts and where she’s at with it,” he said. The project likely will be discussed more fully during this spring’s budget process, Mr. Hauk said.

The city’s engineering firm believes as many as 140 homes throughout the city still have septic tanks.

The brunt of the city’s septic tanks, normally associated with more rural areas, are in the Sand Flats, an area on the west end between Arsenal and Coffeen streets with some of the oldest homes.

Septic tanks also result from houses being built farther out years after the road was built, Mr. Hauk has said. Some properties may be too far from a sewer line.

There also have been instances where properties could have gained access to city sewers but homeowners decided against it.

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