Oil Springs woman faces $2,600 sewer problem


An Oil Springs woman is facing a large bill after trying to clear a sewage backup herself.

In mid-August, there was a backup on Oil Springs Line due to a blockage in the pipe which town staff was likely caused by an excess of baby wipes. Town staff called in Smit Landscaping and Utility Contractor to clear the blockage. It took an hour and half for the contractor to arrive.

In the meantime town officials say the homeowner tried to clear some of the mess with her own shop vac and an extension from it fell into the sewer.

The village was concerned the extension would cause more problems in the system so it called in another contractor to use a camera to find the equipment so it could be renewed.

Under the village’s bylaws, residents aren’t suppose to access the sewers, so the municipality has billed the woman $2,632.51.

“We understand that this was not done intentionally, however, access to the village’s sanitary sewer clean-out is prohibited for our residents to use,” wrote village clerk Jennifer Turk.

Mayor Ian Veen feels for the resident footing the large bill but says the village had to charge back the fees. “We didn’t charge her anymore than it cost us to find the extension,” says Veen. “We have a bylaw that says you’re not supposed to put anything into the sewer system…there was a blockage and it took the contractor an hour, hour and a half, or two hours but she couldn’t wait that long.”

Veen adds several years ago the municipality sent a person door-to-door to check that homes had a backflow preventer to avoid this type of problem.