Woman sues over sewer

LORDSTOWN – A village woman is asking Trumbull County courts for relief from being forced to make a costly addition to her sewerline, which she deems unnecessary.

Jodie L. Ciriello, 631 Salt Springs Road, filed an injunction last week with the Trumbull County Common Pleas court to stay a failure to comply citation while it remains pending in Newton Falls Municipal Court.

Ciriello said she was ordered to install a grinder pump on her property at a cost of $9,054, a fee she calls exorbitant.

She said her issues began several years ago when Lordstown put a sewerline on her street. Shortly thereafter, she was notified that she had to abandon her septic system and tie-in.

“It must have been about four years ago,” Ciriello said in a phone interview on Friday. “They want me to pay an extra $6,000, and I can’t do it.”

In the formal complaint, Ciriello notes she found less costly alternatives which would reduce her costs to as little as $3,754 and still meet the requirements set by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Trumbull County Board of Health.

These alternatives were refused, according to Ciriello.

“Requiring the plaintiff to incur a cost of $9,054 due to defendants’ design and actions, when an adequate alternative is available for a cost of $3,754 is unreasonably detrimental to the plaintiff,” the complaint states.

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said the issue revolves around where her house is located.

“She lives by a creek and the street is on a floodplain,” Hill said. “She wants to put the grinder down on the street because she wants the village to have to pay for it, but we’re not going to put it on a floodplain.”

Hill said the grinder must be installed on her property to avoid overflow issues. He also noted two neighbors with similar issues had the grinders installed on their properties.

“She has gone to several meetings and talked to everyone in the city and, apparently, she doesn’t like the answers she is getting, so she’s suing,” Hill said.

Ciriello said she should not be punished for where she lives.

“They put in the sewer knowing I already lived there,” Ciriello said. “Not only will I have to pay for a grinder, I’d have to pay to maintain it. This was their engineering issue and I’m having to pay for it.”

A 53-year-old retired General Motors Corp. worker, Ciriello said she is living on disability and cannot feasibly pay for the grinder.

“I’m on a fixed income,” Ciriello said. “I don’t know what I will do if this case doesn’t go my way because I literally cannot afford it. I’ve gone through a divorce and had health problems. In the meantime, I’ve had to deal with Lordstown with all of these issues.”

She said funding for the $3,754 alternate tie-in option has been secured if the court finds in her favor.

“My parents are going to help me with that,” Ciriello said. “So if it comes to it, I can pay for that. I just can’t do the extra $6,000 for a mistake they made.”

A court date is set for Tuesday in Newton Falls Municipal Court, who is acting on behalf of the state of Ohio in the case, to address her failure to comply citation. She expects relief from the citation for the time being.

“I don’t think they will pursue that for now,” Ciriello said. “I was told as long as my case is pending and I have a lawsuit filed, they would stay the failure to comply for now.”

Those named in Ciriello’s lawsuit includes Lordstown Village Council, Village Utilities Committee, Board of Public Affairs and the Trumbull County Health Department.