Design Of City's $4.4M Sewer Project Questioned

Contractor: Connecting To Sewer Could Cause Back Ups

A much-lauded $4.4 million project aimed at connecting more homes to the city's sewer system is being questioned by a contractor who claims it could cause more problems.

A new sewer line was dug in the Bangor/Delaware neighborhood on Indianapolis' south side in May 2009 in an effort to eliminate problematic septic tanks in the area, 6News' Rafael Sanchez reported.

Homeowners were given until this August to connect to the system.

John and Bridgette McCullough, at 1 E. Waterbury Road, said they paid $2,500 to the city to get the service, and another $2,000 to hire a contractor to lay the pipe from their home to the lateral leading to the sewer.

But their contractor, Rick Rodarmel Construction out of Bargersville, said the placement of the city's new lateral could lead to problems for them and two nearby homes if they're connected to the sewer line.

"All three would have sewer back ups," said Rick Rodarmel, who has done several jobs in the same neighborhood. "They would call me back because I didn't have enough sense not to put it in, and I don't do business that way."

Stephen Nielsen, a top engineer with the Department of Public Works, said the project meets city compliance.

"We take that very seriously. If we ever have to clean up anything we'd want to clean up a street than have people suffer as much as $40,000 in damages because of a sewer back-up," he said. "If there was a mistake made we'll do some corrective measure. I'm not saying there was a mistake or not, it might just be a difference of opinion between us and the plumber, and we'll have to work on that."

Nielsen said his crews will go to the McCulloughs' home to inspect the situation.

The couple said they just want to make sure everything is done correctly.

"I want it done right. We've put too much money out, and we don't want to put any more out," said John McCullough. "I don't want to come home with my finished basement backed up with sewage."

A 199 survey by the Marion County Health Department showed of the nearly 600 homes in the area, 38 percent had problems with failing septic systems.