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Sewer Dispute Heads to Mediation

Tuesday, October, 23, 2018

The ongoing sewer dispute between Marietta and Washington County has moved to mediation. Officials from both sides met recently at Marietta College to discuss potential resolutions to the problem.


The dispute has been ongoing since 2015 when the county did not initiate the work that was described in their 40-year contract to sewer Devola and Oak Grove when the city performed other upgrades. After several attempt throughout the summer of 2015 to resolve the issue, including one mediation session, the city filed a lawsuit against the county commissioners for breach of contract.


At the moment, the plant upgrades are about a year away from completion. The county is dealing with two lawsuits related to their lack of action on the sewer system, the first of which was filed by the city and the second, filed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.


The most recent mediation session was private, but information about representatives for the city and county was released. It had been nearly 340 days since the last formal meeting between the two sides.


According to the county, the case against the commissioners should be dismissed because they do not believe Matthew Dooley, of the Cleveland law firm O’Toole McClaughlin Dooley &Pecora, had the authority to file a lawsuit against them on behalf of the city.


Additionally, the state claim could have a direct impact on the outcome of the city’s lawsuit because the state ordered the county to remedy pollution caused by Devola’s failing septic system. As of 2015, the county had not done so.