Milford refuses to pay for wastewater lift station for apartments

By Jordan Puckett
Sun staff

After a series of discussions between the owners of Concord Woods and Oakwood Apartments and the Milford Public Services Committee, the city has decided against paying for the private sewage lift station co-owned by the apartment complexes.

The apartments were built in the 1970s and total around 200 units. The lift station that was originally installed is now failing. Owners of the complexes, Lynda Fox and Bruce Hellman, have requested that the City of Milford take ownership of the lift station, thus taking responsibility for all repairs and future maintenance fees.

“The lift station is privately owned,” said City Manager Jeff Wright. “It is not the city’s responsibility.”

In a past Public Services Committee meeting, Fox pointed out that the city had taken ownership of private lift stations in the past and asked that another exception be made.

Wright argued that these exceptions had benefited the City of Milford and allowed for the development of new businesses and thus provided profit for the city. Wright said the land around the apartment complexes isn’t able to be developed any further, so the lift station would only be an expense to the city.

Hellman suggested that instead of replacing the current lift station, the city could build a new sewer line, connecting the apartment complexes to the city sewage system and abandon the lift station altogether.

City Engineer Bud White estimated that such a line would cost the city about $200,000 and would still only benefit the apartment complexes.

“It just doesn’t make sense for the City of Milford to take care of the cost of this lift station,” Wright said. “That’s $200,000 that would have to be paid by existing sewage customers who wouldn’t benefit from it.”

The estimated cost to repair the existing lift station is between $100,000 and $125,000. This cost would have to be split between the owners.

“We empathize that the owners of those two complexes will have to spend such a large sum of money, but we feel the city shouldn’t have to pay for them,” Wright said.

Hellman did not wish to comment on the situation, but simply said that though the city won’t take ownership of the lift station, the owners of the complexes are “proceeding ahead.”