Living under ‘spectre’ of another sewerage backup

Dear Editor,

Village of Morrin Mayor Chris Hall states that he feels his main purpose as mayor is to move the village forward and always do what is in the best interest of the village taxpayers.

With this in mind, Morrin council knew that the sewer lateral (60 plus years old) from our property belonging to the village had major blockages, solid, as well as a sag of some 20 feet full of water and the sidewalk above broken and settling. They were aware of this Sept. 22, 2020.

Despite knowing this the village did not let us know until repeated requests from us to know the results of the Sept. 22, 2020 report.

We first requested the results of the inspection report Oct. 19, 2020. When we were informed of the blockages we asked that the village clear their line.

This was March 17, 2021. They refused, resulting in a sewerage backup into our basement, May 8, 2020.

Council letter May 26, 2021 refused to do anything about the blockages. We notified council May 26, 2021 that we would have to quit using the line for disposal of any solids due to our concern of another sewerage backup and were renting a portable toilet (costs incurred of $1811.25 – not including costs for legal counsel) from May 26, 2021 until the council finally cleared their line Feb. 7, 2022.

Council and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner had even related to their legal counsel that we were not using a portable toilet.

Since Feb. 7, 2022 we only flush fecal solids and dispose of soiled toilet paper in a refuse container.

The village’s ‘go to’ contractor for sewer repairs, TKNT Mechanical, suggested frequent flushes until repairs can be made.

Picture this: The sagged line full of water is about 50 feet from our toilet. As we have a ‘low flow’ toilet, that is about 4.8 litres of water each flush. How many flushes are required to move solids along 50 feet of line to a blockage of 20 feet of 3-inch line full of water and through that into the main line?

Be informed we have never benefited from work on our line as access to the compromised village lateral is at the curb.

Are we to do this indefinitely? What is the ‘wear and tear’ on our toilet?

In the meantime, we continue to live under the ‘spectre’ of another sewerage backup.

Public Works Foreman Dave Benci stated that this repair was not in the village’s budget (note: there have been two budgets set since our problem), that the ‘dip’ does not prevent the lateral from operating normally. (Really!)

The lateral is not perfect but it’s functional. It would cost $20,000 to dig up (note: the 2021 budget allowed $5,000 each for four sewer repairs) and snake is cheaper (snake before or after backup?). Half the sewers in Morrin have a dip. Is there evidence supporting this and are any in as serious disrepair as ours? and the village has done everything in its power to accommodate the Heltons. ‘

As an aside, council implemented a bylaw to allow new businesses tax breaks.

We are, to say the least, disappointed that council has taken this approach. Council has full knowledge of all the documentation related to our problem. Foreman Benci and CAO Plachner are recorded as making statements that are inaccurate, misleading, irresponsible and totally inappropriate.

We are surprised council would allow this without challenging them.

Howard & Lynn Helton
Morrin, Alta.

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