Tom Feltenberger expressed frustration about an ongoing water leak and scum problem along Grinnell Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets. The source of problem is reportedly water flowing from an outlet pipe from a basement sump pump at a residence near at Grinnell and 11th. (Columbia Spy previously reported on the issue HERE.)
Feltenberger said that due to the water on the street, cars are sliding and people are falling. He said he got the runaround from several agencies, having contacted the national office of the EPA, who referred him to its state office, who told him to contact “Harrisburg,” who sent him back to Columbia Borough, which “sent him nowhere.” He said he then called State Representative Dave Hickernell, but “he does nothing.” He said he then talked to a “street superintendent,” who told him there are legal problems “out there.” When asked what the plan is, the superintendent allegedly said, “I don’t know the plan,” but admitted the borough has known about the problem for years. Feltenberger said he then called the highway department but got no calls back. “This is a very serious problem,” he told council.
Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger said the borough is aware of the problem and that the next step is to identify that the water is coming specifically from a "homeowner’s home." The borough will then determine what role, if any, it has in fixing the problem.
Hawn also said that drain pipes were improperly installed on the 500 block of Walnut Street during a recent road and sidewalk reconstruction project. He cited one example in particular, in which a drain line leading from a building to the storm sewer was two inches lower than the sewer inlet. Hawn said he pointed out the problem to a job foreman who told him the curb would be replaced. Instead, workmen jack-hammered through the curb to fit the pipe in, according to Hawn. “A lot of the drains have been put in wrong,” he told council.
Hawn also said that drain lines leading from downspouts are supposed to have a “positive grade,” but water in some pipes doesn’t make it out to the curb due to an incorrect grade. Hawn also said elbows have been added to some lines that don’t line up with the hole in the curb, which increases the likelihood of clogging. In other cases, lines were run crooked, Hawn said. He said the engineer is supposed to inspect all the forms and all the drains. “My sidewalks look pathetic, and nobody is checking them,” he said.
Council President Kelly Murphy said that if it is found that the job has not been done correctly, it will have to be redone. “We’ll look into it,” he said.
Code Enforcement Manager Steve Kaufhold explains procedures.
Code Enforcement Manager Steve Kaufhold told Meley that inspections are still being done but that he was unaware of the tenant changes. “If you had called me, we would have come out,” Kaufhold said. “I only heard about it now.” Meley responded that the borough can’t count on a concerned citizen monitoring all the slumlords in town. “You have to get out in front of these things,” he said. He told council it must make it uncomfortable for slumlords to be in this town. He said the borough must “hammer them” and enforce the three-strike rule. “I’d like you to do something about this,” he said.
Kaufhold said that if the codes department finds out that a new tenant has come in, the landlord will be notified of an upcoming inspection and a $250 fine will be imposed for any new tenant who moves in without a proper inspection of the rental.
Doutrich also complained about both street sweepers often being out of operation at the same time, claiming the problem is due to mismanagement. He also cited a weed and grass problem at 1020 Ironville Pike, where the weeds are over six feet tall. He said a neighbor of the property told him she came to the borough office three times to report the problem, because she couldn’t see above the weeds to back out of her driveway safely. Allegedly, an employee at the borough office told her to back into her driveway so that she could see to pull out onto Ironville Pike.