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Defending Wal-mart in Sewergate

With all due respect to Jay, he's just wrong about blaming Wal-Mart for not letting these people tie into their sewer line.

Forgetting the obvious question about why this is Wal-Mart's problem there are other reasons Wal-mart is getting a bad crap. -er Bad rap. I just made them as bullet points.

  • The HOs (home owners) have the money to spend $3000 on an engineering study, (which BTW is money wasted, more below) they have the money to put an addition on the house, but they don't the money to move to a larger home? hmm
  • Why don't they spend the money to tie into the municipal system as Walmart did?
  • The HOs can't get a permit because they are 400 feet from a wellhead -OK most every municipality says it has to be within 100 feet some say 50 feet if it is downhill. Certainly the new tank won't be within 350. (How big can the new tank be?) If Mass demands 400 that is just stupid, blame Mass government. Further, I'd bet a day's pay they can apply for a waiver which would surely be granted. (Did their engineer apply? Doubtful) [See Update Below]
  • For ~$5000 they could have just put in an ITU (aka ITP) They were getting sold the whole store by an engineer who wants to sell them a $20,000 system they don't need. If they have the money for an engineer and an addition they can figure out how to buy a larger home.
  • If Walmart allows them to tie into that line then Walmart accepts responsibility for everything IN that line.(This is actually the only reason needed) If the HO decides to pour anti-freeze down the drain then Walmart gets fined thousands of dollars. "But they wouldn't do that" you say? BS. What about when they sell the house?
  • What happens when Wal-mart's system backs up and dumps raw sewerage into the HOs house?... Can you say lawsuit?
  • What happens when junior #3 throws mommy's pantyhose in the toilet and flushes? Then when raw sewerage backs-up in the Walmart and people are walking thru it; Can you say lawsuit?

This is nothing more than typical Massachusetts Wal-Mart bashing. Why is it Wal-Mart bears the responsibility for these people's actions? In another space and time where lawyers did not rule the planet perhaps life would be different.

Update: I knew I had a problem with 400 feet... see the update

From the Mass Dept of Drinking Water

Septic Systems -- Septic tanks, leach fields, etc., should be removed and placed outside of the Zone I of a well. Septic systems near the Zone I should be well maintained. Pump septic tanks every two years. Never dump hazardous substances down the drains. Do not use septic system cleaners.

So what is Zone 1?

Zone I - The primary protection area around a small public water system (PWS) is known as the Zone I. The Zone I is a 100- to 400-foot protective radius around the well or wellfield which must be owned or controlled by the water supplier using conservation restrictions. The extent of the protective radius depends on the approved yield of the well.

It is doubtful a single family's well would meet the requirements for maximum distance. Even if it did I'm sure they can get a waiver. These people don't have a bad neighbor, they have a bad engineer/ state bureaucracy.


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Comments (16)

That's proof enough for me.... (Below threshold)

That's proof enough for me. Jay is a liberal. Get a rope....

I gotta concur...I've had m... (Below threshold)

I gotta concur...I've had my suspicions about Jay Tea for a while now. Expecting Wal Mart cave-ins to social plights o' capable home owners (who could also purchase one of those toilets that combusts waste into nothingness, used in bomb shelters, anywhere where no access to a sewage line is possible/practical) is like, saying, hey, we're Republicans so give us free COSTCO memberships! Or better yet, groceries for the lifetimes of our infant children! Because we w.a.n.t it.

"If Walmart allows them to ... (Below threshold)

"If Walmart allows them to tie into that line then Walmart accepts responsibility for everything IN that line.(This is actually the only reason needed)" Exactly, too bad many people don't realize this and during sewer inspections I've found some things that baffle the mind (ladders, chopped up car, beds, construction waste).

As far as the well protection area, I can't say I don't know any details about the aquafier. But I can say it would be calculated based on their pumping rate, thickness of aquafier, type of aquafier (confined or unconfined), transmissivity of aquafier, storage capacity, pumping time, pumping drawdown (difference between the head when the pump is on and off), speed and direction of ground water flow, relation of well location to septic location (ie. upstream, downstream, etc.) You can use a software like WhAEM which is published free by the EPA to model the capture zone of the well and see if the spetic tank location would be an issue.

I saw his picture once, we'... (Below threshold)

I saw his picture once, we'll need to make sure it's a big rope. LMAO Big tree too. Or are you suggesting we just use one of those combusting toilets and skip the rope all together? That won't work either, I can't skip rope, got a bad ankle.

Imagine the precedent it wo... (Below threshold)

Imagine the precedent it would set for Walmart after this --- every place they went, the municipality would be telling them they have to let the residences tie into their treatment plants. Bad idea.

My thoughrs entirely. ... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

My thoughrs entirely.

I was going to comment on Jay's post using the sewer backup example. You beat me to it. Another analogy is their parking lot. Should a neighbor be allowed to permanently park his car or RV or boat trailer on Wal-Mart's lot simply because they normally have excess space. The answer is no.

Facts are stubborn things. ... (Below threshold)

Facts are stubborn things. Big nasty corporation should give a free ride to freeloading homeowners? Of course! Just pay no attention to the man (facts) behind the curtain...

Actually, the crux of my pi... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Actually, the crux of my piece was INTENDED to say that Wal-Mart totally blew a chance to score some major PR. Even if they'd said no and explained why, that might've worked to their advantage. My main irk with them was that they simply ignored the family's request entirely.

Damn, I gotta get more sleep before posting...


Gotta agree with WalMart. ... (Below threshold)

Gotta agree with WalMart. Now I won't badger the parents entirely, even if they sought after fertility drugs (as alleged) or the like.

If they cannot tie into the municipal line, then they ought to appeal the zoning. If that fails, you live in a tight house, get your tank pumped often (I paid $235 for my 1,000 gal tank last month), and you take the necessary steps to be careful what junior flushes.

Facts are stubborn thing... (Below threshold)

Facts are stubborn things. Big nasty corporation should give a free ride to freeloading homeowners? Of course! Just pay no attention to the man (facts) behind the curtain...

Actually, these aren't wealthy people. I would hardly call them "freeloading". That they were going to put on an addition does not mean they are wealthy, it means they live pretty close to Boston where it is much cheaper to add on to your home than it is to trade up to a larger home.

As for being responsible for everything that goes into the line, that's why Wal-Mart employs so many lawyers - have them take care of liability waivers and whatnot. There are definitely ways to handle this, ways Wal-Mart could have helped out, they didn't.

Did they have to? No. But with statements like these:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. believes each Wal-Mart store, SAM'S CLUB and distribution center has a responsibility to contribute to the well being of the local community.

Wal-Mart's Good.Works. community involvement program is based on the philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally.

Wal-Mart's approach to community involvement is unique, combining both financial and volunteer support.

I would have expected more. I guess Wal-Mart is more talk than action.

I would add that from readi... (Below threshold)

I would add that from reading the article the line in question that WalMart has isn't a municipal line:

But there was one other solution: hooking up to the sewer system of a nearby Wal-Mart, which has a line running from the store to the Brockton sewer system.

Now the Brockton line is a municpal line, where as the WalMart line would be a private line, if it was a municipal line the family would have every right to tie into it, but instead it appears to be a private connection. If the law there is anything like California law in regards to discharge permiting.

Also since it is a public water well (they live within 400 feet of a public drinking water well) they would interfere with, they could cause problems for the municipality's drinking water system by increasing contaminates (because who knows what they will flush) and possibly could increase treatment costs on the water in order to meet Clean Water Act Requirements.

There was a case in Malibu, where the County had put in septic systems for all the residents, then turned over their operation to the residents, who in turn didn't want to pay to pump their septic tanks. As a result the gound was over saturated and the hillside began to slip. The laywer for the residents sued the County and found a law on the books requiring the municiplality to maintain any sanitary sewer system they installed, since the system was not maintained the County lost and had to reassume operation, pay for damages, pay for methods to dewater the hillside and pay for any work done to stabilize the hillside.

Sean Said:>As for ... (Below threshold)

Sean Said:

>As for being responsible for everything that goes into the line, that's why Wal-Mart employs so many lawyers

You're right. And the lawers told them not to do it.

tooshay.... (Below threshold)


Good post, and I think the ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Good post, and I think the liability issue alone is more than enough reason to say "no thanks." Offering free diapers or formula is one thing, but allowing somebody to permanently hook into your sewer line comes with a liability Wal-mart doesn't need to assume, and it also sets a bad precedent.

Sean-I don't know if they are wealthy, but if they can afford to pay an engineer and a contractor to build an addition that doubles their house size, they have the ability to just buy a new home. My husband and I had to tear off a portion of our house and are rebuilding it, so I have a pretty good idea of just how much it costs.

They should put their house on the market, and buy a larger one-they have at least that much money.

This liberal mentality is e... (Below threshold)

This liberal mentality is exactly the reason everything costs so much in our society today. All a person has to do is put their legs in the air, and after a few seconds of sweaty moaing, pop out a few rugrats, and wait for the checks to roll in. What responsbility does Wal-Mart, or ANY member of that community, have to support these people?

People think "well they have the money to give away, so why not"? Then bitch about what they pay their workers, bitch about the prices... What hypocrisy.

I had a long comment but I ... (Below threshold)

I had a long comment but I was getting too P.O.'d. So just make a note of my anger here, please.






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