PITTSBURGH – A Meyersdale man believes a municipality is violating the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, through discharging raw sewage into the Casselman River and into his property’s water supply.

Grant Tressler filed suit on March 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, versus the municipality of Summit Township.

“Plaintiff has owned the property at 7974 Mt. Davis Road, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania 15552, for the past seven years. Defendant is responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of several publicly-owned and maintained culverts that carry sanitary sewage waste and which run adjacent to and beneath Mt. Davis Road in front of plaintiff’s property. For many years, the western side of Mt. Davis Road included a ditch that moved storm water and sewage through the above mentioned culverts towards and onto plaintiff’s property and the unnamed tributary to Casselman River,” the lawsuit reads.

Tressler explains the main pollutants being transported through the culverts, into the river and into the groundwater beneath his property are untreated sewage wastes, including human waste and unknown household wastes – all of which are emitting a foul odor and believed to include E. coli and numerous other pollutants.

Tressler states the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is not taking any action in this matter, and that he gave notice of the violations alleged in this complaint (as well as his intent to file suit) to all parties concerned on Sept. 26, 2016, prior to initiating legal action. Yet, he added the violations complained of have not ceased.

For counts violating the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, continuing trespass and continuing nuisance, the plaintiff is seeking a declaration the defendant has violated and is in violation of the Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law; that the defendant has committed a continuing trespass and continuing nuisance; the issuance of a preliminary and permanent injunction that prevents defendant from discharging raw sewage; an injunction that defendant remediate the damage done to the environment; a mandate that defendant remediates the damage done to the environment, natural resources, species, and habitat, as a result of its illegal discharges into the Casselman River; an assessment of civil penalties against defendant for $37,500 per day per violation for violations occurring after May 21, 2009; an award of costs, including attorney fees and expert fees; an award of compensatory damages for damage to property and inconvenience, annoyance, and discomfort; other relief as the Court deems just and proper; or alternatively, a jury trial is requested on all triable issues.

The plaintiff is represented by Rose K. Monahan and Emily A. Collins of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, in Pittsburgh.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case 3:17-cv-00032

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
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