A class action lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Ellwood City Borough is being positioned as an outcry from residents for a permanent fix to a storm water and sanitary water drainage problem.
Joe Bellissimo, an attorney with Bellissimo & Pierce, is one of the lawyers representing the community members. He said the residents have been complaining of flooding after heavy rains for years through phone calls and newspaper articles.
“Storm water causes damage by infiltrating their homes via their basement plumbing, their lines coming into the homes, and any entrance they have from the house through the sewer lines,” Bellissimo said.
The class action suit addressed flood damages from July to September 2011. Bellissimo said the suit doesn’t have anything to do with the massive amount of rain from hurricane Sandy, because an enormous amount of rain is not required for the flooding to occur.
“The storm water, somehow, due to a deficiency or defect within the sewer system infiltrating the storm water lines, and we think from the storm water drains into the sanitary sewer lines into the homes,” Bellissimo said.
Bellissimo added that it is unclear how many sewer lines are compromised. As for compensation sought in the suit, Bellissimo said monetary damages are not enough.
“This system has to be corrected or else we’re going to be doing this over and over again and that’s really not achieving any goal,” Bellissimo said. “We don’t want the symptoms to be treated, we want the disease to be cured, and that’s by addressing the defects and the inherent problems that are in both systems: the storm water system and the sanitary system.”
The Ellwood City Borough said they have yet to receive notification of the class action and cannot yet comment.