Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Township looks to install sewers

Some homes are without toilets

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — The small, narrow outhouse in the Proffitt family's back yard is made of cement blocks and has a purple covering over the door's window.

        Michael Proffitt, 18, said he and his mother and his 13-year-old brother don't use the outhouse, even though there is no toilet in the house. He said he uses the restroom at a restaurant where he works, and his mother and brother use public restrooms.

        “You couldn't get me to use that outhouse,” said Mr. Proffitt, who has lived in the house for a year. “It's nasty back there.”

        The Proffitts live in Liberty Township, a Butler County community that is teeming with new subdivisions of sleek, pricey homes. But there are still eight to 10 families on Horseshoe Bend Road in the township's northwest corner who have no indoor toilets. Some of the families use outhouses, township officials say.

        At the township's request, the Butler County commissioners and township officials are trying to find a way to build sanitary sewers in that area.

        Commissioner Mike Fox said he became aware of the situation last weekend when someone took him to see Horseshoe Bend.

        “I was shocked,” he said Monday. “I thought I'd have to go to parts of West Virginia to see something like that.”

        The county had just awarded Liberty Township $196,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds for storm sewers and sidewalks on Horseshoe Bend and its crossing street, Shafor Drive. The storm sewers would correct a drainage problem there.

        But Liberty Township Trustee Bob Shelley asked the commissioners Monday if that money could be used for sanitary sewers instead.

        “They need sanitary sewers more than storm sewers,” he said.

        Mike Juengling, county development director, said Butler County will ask the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the source of the funds, for permission to use the money for sanitary sewers.

        But Mr. Juengling said more money might be needed for the sewer project.

        About 50 families live on Horseshoe Bend and Shafor. Most of the families — both middle- and low-income — live in houses that have septic tanks. But eight to 10 have no indoor toilets.

        Mr. Shelley said the township wanted to have sewers installed in the late 1980s, but some residents opposed it.

        Mr. Shelley said he's aware that some of the residents don't have enough money to pay for sewer hook-ups.

        “We're going to have to find money from somewhere,” he said.

        Johnnie Hampton, who has lived on Horseshoe Bend for 32 years, said he would welcome sewers.

        “I'm all for it,” said the 61-year-old retired man. “It's going to cost me a fortune when it comes through, but I'd like to see it.”


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