Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed an environmental lawsuit asking a judge to order Slammin’ Sam’s Stagecoach Restaurant, 10300 Market St., North Lima, to connect to a Mahoning County sanitary sewer and abandon its sewage holding tank.
Until that connection is made, the suit asks for a court order that the restaurant maintain its holding tank to prevent the discharge of wastewater and for imposition of up to a $10,000 civil penalty for each day of violation.
The lawsuit, filed this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, is assigned to Judge Lou A. D’Apolito.
Representatives of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency saw raw sewage surrounding the holding tank twice in 2007, once each in 2009 and 2010 and twice in 2011, with the overflow likely entering an unnamed tributary to Mill Creek, the lawsuit says.
To connect to the county’s sanitary sewer under Market Street, which runs to the Boardman sewage treatment plant, the restaurant must install a pumping station and a force main at its expense, said Bill Coleman, office manager for the county sanitary engineer’s office.
A force main is a pipe that accepts sewage that is pushed through it, rather than just having the sewage flow by gravity, he explained.
Coleman said he could not provide an estimate of what those installations would cost the restaurant owners.
The restaurant also needs to obtain an easement from an adjacent landowner to the north to access the sewer. “It would go underneath a turnpike overpass and then into our system,” Coleman said of the sewer access, referring to the Ohio Turnpike.
“The Stagecoach has not moved forward to do what they needed to do to get this done,” Coleman said.
Sam Conti, a part-owner of the restaurant, had a different version of events.
“We signed a contract last week” with an installation contractor, Conti said Thursday. The easement is now being arranged, he said. “It’s in the process of getting done,” Conti said, adding that the restaurant’s connection to the county sewer will be made this year “for sure.”
Conti declined to disclose the restaurant’s cost to connect, but said it’s “a lot of money.”
As for the $10,000-a-day fine, Conti said, “That would just shut us down.”
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine, said the office became involved in this case at the request of the OEPA. DeWine’s office often tries to reach settlements between OEPA and businesses, such as the Stagecoach, “to ensure compliance with Ohio’s environmental protection laws,” he said.
Tierney said many attempts were made to reach a negotiated settlement with the Stagecoach owners.