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REYNOLDS DISPOSAL COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (12/23/83)

decided: December 23, 1983.

REYNOLDS DISPOSAL COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. DEWAYNE E. SHREFFLER ET AL., PETITIONERS V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of DeWayne Shreffler and Pamela J. Shreffler, his wife; Gerald Plowman and Dolores Plowman, his wife; Thomas L. Mowry and Bessie M. Mowry, his wife; William H. Riggle and Karen L. Riggle, his wife; Arthur J. Harvey and Doris Harvey, his wife, and Roderick T. Daugherty and Jenny S. Daugherty, his wife et al. v. Reynolds Disposal Company, No. C-812545, dated July 23, 1982.

COUNSEL

Cyril T. Garvey, for petitioner, Reynolds Disposal Company.

William G. McConnell, Cusick, Madden, Joyce and McKay, for petitioners, DeWayne E. Shreffler et al.

Robert P. Meehan, Assistant Counsel, with him Louise R. Knight, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle and Barry. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 223]

This case arises from two separate appeals taken from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) which directed that the Reynolds Disposal Company (Reynolds) correct inadequacies in its sewage system.

Reynolds owns and operates a sewer system which services a residential area in Pymatuning Township, Mercer County. Although the sewer system performs adequately under normal conditions, the system overloads during wet weather, causing sewage to back up into the basements of a number of residences. Several

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 224]

    homeowners*fn1 experiencing such sewage backups brought a trespass action against Reynolds in the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that Reynolds was negligent in allowing the backups to occur. Reynolds responded by joining additional homeowners alleging that the backups were caused by improper connections of french drains into the sewer system at their residences.

On April 29, 1981 this action was stayed by an order of the court of common pleas pending a determination by the PUC as to whether Reynolds was in violation of its requirement to provide adequate service.*fn2 Subsequently, the homeowners*fn3 filed a complaint with the PUC, and after extensive testimony had been taken, an administrative law judge issued an initial decision containing findings of fact and conclusions of law. On July 27, 1982 the PUC adopted the judge's initial decision and his ruling on exceptions, and entered an order requiring Reynolds to prepare and implement a plan to eliminate surface water infiltration of its sewer system. Both Reynolds and the homeowners have appealed from the decision of the PUC, and their appeals have been consolidated by order of this Court dated October 21, 1982.

[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page ...


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