Valley Lee Residents Get Sewage Upgrade

By Guy Leonard, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (July 3, 2008)—Residents in the Andover Estates area of Valley Lee and on surrounding roads and streets should have one less thing to worry about when it comes to maintaining their homes now that Met-Com has provided a pump that will do away with aging septic systems.

“These septic systems were failing and we’ve been trying to alleviate that,” said MetCom deputy director Daniel Ichniowski. “People started getting backups into their houses.

“These septic systems have been failing for two to three years.”

The new system will have residents in the immediate area switch to grinder pumps, which will grind and crush waste from their homes. The waste will then be pumped through a pressurized feeder tube that will lead to a nearby, newly installed pumping station.

From that pumping station it will be funneled to the Marlay-Taylor wastewater treatment plant that services Lexington Park and several other areas.

Ichniowski said MetCom expects about 60,000 gallons of additional wastewater to be added to the capacity at the Marlay-Taylor facility.

In all, 45 homes have received the upgrade, Ichniowski said, on Denton Road, Petite Point Lane, Oakland Avenue, Locust Grove Drive, Giddings Street and Andover Estates Road.

Funding for the $1.23 million project came from state grants as well as a state loan, he said.

Rudy Baliko, a longtime Locust Grove Drive resident, said problems with the septic systems have been going on longer than two or three years, but praised the contractors who were hired to take on the refitting job for their quick work.

“The guys have been working hard,” Baliko said. “Sometimes you see them here at 7 a.m. and you don’t see them leave until 8 p.m.”

Baliko said three years after he and his wife bought their home in 1967, he had to extend the septic system to forestall problems.

“Really it wasn’t the best system at that time,” Baliko said. “It hasn’t been very effective over the years.”

Problems around the neighborhood included the occasional sewer eruption into backyards or even messy backups in residents’ homes.

Both he and his wife Peg Baliko remember neighbors who had to have septic system contractors come to their homes on a weekly basis for cleanup.

The Balikos would make sure their septic system was cleaned and emptied thoroughly before they had any large number of guests come over.

“We don’t take any chances,” Peg Baliko said with a laugh.

Despite having to bear the expense of having their home hooked up to the grinder pump — MetCom wasn’t doing it for free, the Balikos said — they were looking forward to the prospect of a worry free sanitation system.

“It’s something this community has needed for a long time,” Rudy Baliko said. “The last two or three years it’s been drawn out… but it’s going to be a whole lot easier on everything, the environment and us.”

And, of course, there were other convenient benefits, too.

“I can get a garbage disposal now,” Peg Baliko said.

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