Residents invited to inspect check valves

Mindy Carls

At the village board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 6, Orion residents will be able to look at water shutoff valves that keep sewage out of basements, Village President Jim Cooper said.

A plumbing wholesaler will bring the valves to the village hall basement that night. The wholesaler will describe each one.

Residents who want to have a valve installed will be given the names of plumbers in Orion, Cooper said.

A couple who have had sewage in their basement three times in the last six months approached the board on Monday, March 2, about the problem.

The couple blamed heavy rain in mid-September for the first occurrence. Sewer backups threatened many homes that weekend.

Equipment problems at the 10th Avenue lift station caused the pump and float to fail and sewage to back up into the couple’s home.

Both the homeowners and village officials agree it is the only home that equipment failure at the lift station would affect.

Though sympathetic, the board was reluctant to pay for a check valve that could cost $500 to $1,000.

“On behalf of the village we apologize,” Cooper said. “We know how frustrating it can be to have water in your basement, let alone sewage.

“We understand your predicament,” he continued. “We have to be sensitive we don’t set a precedent.”

Cooper wanted to give the board two weeks to mull over the implications of paying for a check valve at the only house an equipment failure at the lift station could affect.

But with a baby on the way, the couple wanted to go ahead immediately.

“We’re not blowing you off at all,” Cooper said. “We will take a serious look at how we can help you.”

In other business:

• Village resident Al Saunders, a member of the railroad bridge committee, served in Viet Nam with Max Cleland, a triple amputee who was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Saunders contacted Cleland about the 13th Avenue bridge, and Cleland got in touch with his friend, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. 

Durbin’s staff contacted Orion to get the information on the bridge.

“Maybe a little pressure from Washington might have more effect,” Cooper said.

Chad Scherwinski has replaced Craig Rasmussen as the public projects manager of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad projects in Orion.