Glocester resident gets approval to install septic pipe under town roadway

370 Lake Washington Drive. NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

GLOCESTER – At a recent meeting the Glocester Town Council, after much discussion and the submission of legal documents by the owner, approved the installation of a septic pipe under a town road with a 5-1 vote.

At the last meeting where the issue was discussed in November, Angelo Raimondi, a septic system designer, presented a plan on behalf of property owner Joanne Lavengood, who recently purchased the property. The project included digging up a 10 foot portion of the town road located at 370 Lake Washington Drive in West Glocester in order to install a septic pipe. The pipe would extend from a planned home on a small lot on one side of the road close to the lake to another small lot on the opposite side where the septic system would be placed.

The council told Lavengood at the time to have the necessary documents drawn up which would require the property owner to be responsible for any damage and/or future repairs to the road at the site should something occur. At the recent meeting, Lavengood and attorney David Ursillo did just that, paving the way for the project to get underway.

Ursillo told the council that Lavengood was prepared to hire a local contractor to dig up the road, dig a trench, install the pipe and then restore the road to its previous condition. One of the council’s concerns was including a sleeve through which the septic pipe would run, making it easier to replace the pipe if there was a problem. The pipe could simply be removed from the sleeve and a new one installed, members noted. Ursillo told the council that would be included in the project.

Raimondi said the installation of the pipe would take less than a day to achieve, not requiring a shutdown of the road in the interim. When asked about the possibility of ledge by Councilor Walter Steere, who voted against the project, Raimondi said there had been test holes dug on both sides of the road, and no ledge had been encountered.

The council’s biggest concern was who would be financially responsible for any future damage to the road if there was a problem caused by the installation of the pipe.

“Essentially, once this pipe is underground, you are never going to have another issue with it,” Ursillo told the council.

He added that the owner agreed to an easement, which would guarantee the road would be restored to its original condition, and owners would be responsible for any repairs in the future, should the road be damaged due to a problem with the pipe, or if the pipe had to be replaced. He added the same easement included a clause that would make the town responsible for any actions they took that would result in damage to the pipe under the road.

“We tried to address all the items that we could,” said Ursillo.

He asked the council to remove the stipulation of a bond, which had been previously discussed. If there were a problem in the future, said Ursillo, the town could simply put a lien on the property instead of the owner procuring a cash bond, which would be held in abeyance by the town. The cost of a repair would probably not be much, said Raimondi.

“I don’t know if I would be comfortable with the backup plan being if something didn’t go according to plan, the answer for the town is just put a lien on the house,” responded Council Vice President Stephen Arnold.

He added he had inspected the site, and that the proposal seemed reasonable, but without a bond he was hesitant.

Councilor Jonathan Burlingame said there were other similar situations in the town where septic pipes ran under town roads.

Town Solicitor David Igliozzi explained that the bond would probably be only the cost of repairing the road. A construction bond, he said, would be a good alternative. A construction bond is only good for the construction of the project. Once completed and approved, it is removed. Those bonds, he said, are common for utilities across the state.

“The cost of the project is not a high dollar amount,” said Burlingame. “So, a bond for $1,000?”

Arnold agreed.

“I’m in favor of it,” said Councilor Cheryl Greathouse, “especially with the homeowner being responsible for it in the future.”

Igliozzi said the easement was quite extensive, covering any possibilities now or in the future.

“I’m satisfied with the legal perspectives,” he said. “You’re as protected as you can be.”

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