Reedsville sues developer, homeowner’s association over storm water issue

KINGWOOD — The Town of Reedsville is suing a developer and a homeowner’s association, saying they are allowing large amounts of storm water to enter the town’s sanitary sewers.

The suit against Ralph W. Zeigler, individually and as a member of EZ Development Co. LLC, and Preston Meadows Property Owners Association Inc., was filed last week in Preston County Circuit Court.

The town is asking the court to provide injunctive relief by ordering the defendants to stop violating town ordinances by discharging storm water into the sewers. No hearing on the request had been set as of Friday.

The water is called I&I, for “inflow and infiltration.” The EDA has ordered treatment systems to remove I&I from their systems by 2020 or face possible fines.

According to the lawsuit, EZ Development collects homeowners’ dues of $300 per year from the residents of Preston Meadows, but the property owners association’s status was revoked by the West Virginia Secretary of State in 2008 for failure to file an annual report.

“Flow meter readings show that nearly twice the amount of water used by residents in Preston Meadows is going into the sewage system during periods of heavy rain,” the town says in the suit.

A March 2005 document executed by EZ Development, “Declaration of Common Interest Community for Preston Meadows,” says that drainage systems are among the “common elements” of the community and maintained by the association, the suit says.

Under “Common Standards,” the suit quotes a section as saying that storm water, “shall not be allowed to flow into the sanitary sewage system.”

On May 2, according to the suit, Reedsville sent a letter to Janet Edmund, who was listed as an officer of the Preston Meadows Property Owners Association Inc., “describing the problem with the inflow and infiltration, and to date no action has been taken.”

Reedsville’s sewage is treated by Masontown. Earlier this year, Reedville passed along increased sewage rates to its customers after Masontown raised its rates to Reedsville.

As previously reported, Masontown told the neighboring town that two-thirds of the I&I going to its treatment plant came through Reedsville. The flow was not metered at the time. Now Reedsville pays based on the actual numbers of gallons that flow to Masontown, necessitating the rate increase.

Reedsville is represented by attorneys Mark E. Gaydos and Sam Hess of McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner. No contact information was immediately available for Zeigler or EZ.

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