Energy & Environment and Government & Economic Development and Government

Beech Grove sues Franciscan, blames it for sewage backups

May 20, 2014

Beech Grove has sued the Franciscan Alliance hospital system, charging it allowed storm water from its closed campus in Beech Grove to flow into the city’s sewer system.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Marion Superior Court, claims the flow of storm water into the sanitation system has caused backups of raw sewage and storm water into  basements of homes surrounding the former hospital site.

The suit demands that Franciscan pay $1,000 for each day the “impermissible flows” of storm water have gone on. The flows of storm water were first verified by an engineer’s report May 10, 2013—375 days ago.

Beech Grove officials also want Franciscan to reimburse the city for expenses it has incurred to divert the storm water to Citizens Energy Group for sanitary treatment, as well as to pay the city’s attorneys’ fees.

“It has always been our intention to work with Franciscan Alliance to resolve these issues, but our first obligation is to the taxpayers of Beech Grove,” Mayor Dennis Buckley said in a statement Tuesday. “It is simply irresponsible to ask them to pay to treat this water and to live with raw sewage backing up in their basements, while placing an undue burden on our city’s infrastructure.”

A Franciscan Alliance spokesman was not able to provide an immediate response Tuesday.

Franciscan vacated the Beech Grove location in 2012 and consolidated its operations at its campus near Interstate 65 and Emerson Avenue. It has been trying to sell the former site.

The lawsuit alleges no water was used at the Beech Grove campus since 2012, but that as many as 30,000 gallons per day have flowed into the sewer system.

The flows were first documented by Wessler Engineering, a firm hired by Franciscan Alliance, in a memo on May 10, 2013.

Beech Grove officials claim Franciscan denied them access to the site until city officials inspected the site without Franciscan’s permission on Feb. 28 this year. They claim they observed sump pumps in the hospitals pumping water from underground to the outside, where it flowed into the sewer system.

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