Lombardi: We'll replace sewer line if we have to

Lombardi: We'll replace sewer line if we have to

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Mayor Charles Lombardi responded this week to accusations contained in a lawsuit from resident Teresa Lepore by saying that he feels badly for the 86-year-old widow and is doing everything possible to address her issues with sewage backing into her home.

Lepore, who is seeking $1 million in damages from the town, should not have to deal with the repeated backups into her basement, said Lombardi.

"We're not happy because we don't want to see this happen to anyone," he said.

The mayor said he has ordered public works employees to regularly monitor the line on Angell Road and to use the town's newer sewer jet truck to flush the line once every two weeks.

If workers can't figure out why the sewer line is periodically blocking up, the town may have to foot the bill for replacing the line, said Lombardi. He said there are a "couple of areas" in town with similar problems.

"If we have to replace the line, we're going to replace the line," he said.

Lombardi did not have an estimate for how much that might cost.

The mayor's statements stand in contrast to the town's denials of Lepore's claims in court documents.

A Superior Court complaint filed by Lepore in May states that the town's sewage system backed up into her home on Feb. 26, "spewing raw sewage into her basement." That was the fifth time it had happened, according to the complaint, with similar backups in April of 2011, May of 2008, February of 2000 and July of 1987.

In addition to the $1 million in damages, Lepore is demanding that town officials replace the sewer line or purchase her property at 446 Angell Road.

Lepore and her grandson, Dean Lees, say they have pictures from inside the sewer line showing roots growing through the pipe.

According to Lepore's lawsuit, town officials have "failed to implement a proactive, permanent solution, and have, instead, implemented a series of reactive, temporary and ineffective stop-gap measures to address the defective condition of the sewer line."

Lepore has lived at her home for 37 years. She is represented by Joseph Cavanagh III of Blish & Cavanagh. She told The Breeze for a story last week that she did not want to sue the town but was forced to when officials repeatedly refused to fix the problem.

That February incident caused "substantial property damage and monetary harm" for Lepore, according to the lawsuit. Her "substantial emotional distress" has been caused by the "cumulative effect of the many backups and the constant threat of future backups."

Lepore submitted a demand for $1 million to the Town Council on March 24. That complaint states that a defective sewer line diminishes the value of the home and could render it worthless.

Lepore says town officials have paid her insurance claims all five times that she filed them for damage from sewage, but the money has fallen far short of what she needed to restore her home to its previous condition.

Comments

27 years of flooding problems, seems like a very unreasonable response time from the town to correct problem sewer pipe. Only after Lepore has to sue the town does anything happen, sad to say the least.

North Providence has always known of the problems on Angell Road. In fact the town has already given the same talking points for over 25 years, that he will have the public works department look at the problem and have the jet truck clean it out routinely! Sadly the problem still exists, what is increasingly concerning is that while knowing of the problems for years, North Providence decided to repave the road without ever having the intent of fixing the line. Town felt it was cheaper to pay out the claims each time without any concern for Mrs. Lepore.
Further if Mayor Lombardi is so concerned about Mrs. Lepore why did he ignore her certified letters and visit to town hall asking for help to correct the problem? So not only is Mayor Lombardi ignoring Mrs. Lepore, he is wrongfully abusing and manipulating the towns insurance carrier in offsetting infrastructure costs that the Mayor has continually underfunded in his operating budgets. For no other reason than to maintain a suitable tax rate during elections years while leaving North Providence residents with a false sense of security of a functioning town.

Yes I feel bad for Mrs.Lepore but good luck in the Town of North Providence in keeping their word!I myself have been getting flooded for over ten years and an engineers report states that two drains were covered when they redid the street,I have lost everything in my basement ,furnace,hot water tanks,washer,dryer,personal items,I have had the basement painted several times,I have huge sink holes all around my property,the corner of my home is disengrating!Yes I feel bad for Mrs.Lepore I hope she gets what she needs done she has my best wishes on working with the town.
Monies have came in this town to redo streets but my district never has anything done ,the roads around here are in such a disgrace,and disrepair it is a disgrace.