Morrin family uses port-a-potty while sewer repair in limbo


Staff member
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A Morrin family of senior citizens says they’re patiently waiting for the village they live in to fix a serious sewer problem that is the municipality’s responsibility to address, not theirs.
Howard and Lynn Helton, known to readers as a past mayor of Morrin and a recently resigned councillor-elected respectively, told the ECA Review in an interview Nov. 4 that a serious sewer issue outside their property should be fixed by the village and, while they wait, they are forced to use a port-a-potty at the back of their property.
Readers should note that, typically, municipalities pay for sewer repairs on public property while homeowners pay for repairs on private property.
In a statement given to the newspaper that day Howard wrote that, “Council passed a resolution in Dec., 2019 to camera all village sewer laterals on 2nd Ave. North as a result of the discovery while checking a problem with lateral on #202 2nd Ave. North. It was determined that the laterals had not been replaced since install in the 1950’s and not when the main was installed in 2011.
“In Sept., 2020 it was reported by village Public Works that there were problems in all the laterals but one. The village was aware of this report as well as the one from Certa Inspections that clearly stated a problem with (the Helton’s) lateral and yet did not inform the Heltons nor make any effort to effect repairs.
It was not until the Heltons made a number of requests for information from the village that the village disclosed that Certa Inspections could not complete a lateral check due to a blockage.
As the village was tasked to determine the integrity of the lateral as per the resolution, it was incumbent on them to clear the line so a proper camera survey could be performed. This is as per the sewer policy.
“Despite the Heltons request that the village do something to ensure the integrity of the lateral, nothing was done. This lateral could have been included in the 2021 budget with the other four laterals as council and administration were well aware of the problem prior to the approval of the budget in May, 2021.
“May 8 the sewer backed up into the Helton’s basement. The Heltons cleared the blockage at that time and encountered (a blockage) at approximately the same place as the Certa inspection.
As the village had stated prior to the blockage it would not pay for a camera which would be required after a plumber cleared the blockage, the Heltons did the clearing themselves to save the cost of a plumber.
The village maintains even in this circumstance that the responsibility for the sewer lateral is the Helton’s.
Since May 26, 2021 the Heltons do not flush solids and have rented a portable toilet. In addition, whenever the washers or tub are used the basement floor drain is monitored in case a back-up should occur, so the water source can be shut off.
The village maintains that until another back-up occurs they will...continued.

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