Business owner with a green thumb seeking fairness with sewer issue

Greenwood Nursery owner Jeff Farber is looking for fairness when it comes to a sewer issue that was discovered in March — the line, he discovered, was not hooked up. Photo / Per Peterson

By Per Peterson

When Jeff Farber dug into sewer issues at his Greenwood Nursery location in Tracy back in March, he uncovered more than a faulty line.

“We started digging, looking for the line because we thought we had a blockage,” Farber testified to the Tracy City Council on Monday.

Neither his own plumber nor Enviro-Plus out of Balaton could get the line going, “so we started digging,” Farber said. “We dug a good 75 to 80 feet, then south all the way to the corner, (then) to the north another 70 to 80 feet. We dug to the west, we couldn’t find anything.”

After all the digging, Farber decided to go back and find the line that went out from the store and into a line that Larry Lanoue had put in from his former home.

“We come to find out that we weren’t connected to the sewer at all,” Farber said. “How this property could’ve gotten missed, nobody knows. I’m not blaming the City, I’m not blaming the council — it’s just one of those things that happened at the time.”

Farber eventually did get the line hooked up and everything is operational, but the financial damage was already done. He estimated and detailed in a handout to the council Monday that his business has racked up $21,610.70 worth of sewer costs since 1981, when he began renting the property (he purchased all 10 acres in 1991, and Lanoue lived in the house until 1993).

Farber estimates that the water and sewer bill started coming to the address in 1970 after a water main was installed in Greenwood addition after the tornado. The sewer line leading to the street — from a storage building to the line by the Lanoue house — was installed in 1980, and “nothing was ever thought about it after that,” said Farber. “I don’t know how it worked for 40 years, but it did work … until it didn’t this year.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.