Bennington woman frustrated over sewer district’s failure to fix her yard


Carla Van Norstran used to love sitting in her gazebo in the front yard of her home in the community of Bennington. At other times, she’d enjoy lounging on the deck on the back of her house, taking in the wonderful countryside that surrounds her home.

Now, she’s just plain frustrated.

With the coming of the Moorefield/Bennington Sewer District, the view from her front yard gazebo now includes the main pumping station for the sewer plant; while her backyard remains dug up from work that was done in installing the system, and months of broken promises on fixing the matter continue.

“I mean, look at this mess,” Carla Van Norstran says as she looks at what was once her backyard. “I used to have flower beds right over there. We did landscaping. Now, all we’ve got is a big pile of dirt that the contractor said back in November he’d be out to take care of the next day.”

Because Carla Van Norstran’s house sits at the end of the line, there is a long sewer line that runs along the back of her property to the east towards the East Enterprise United Methodist Church. Where that line was buried some weeds are beginning to grow; but there’s nothing on the large pile of hardened dirt that takes up most of her backyard.

“If it’s rained at all, I can’t even get to my clothesline,” Carla Van Norstran says. “I can’t walk through my back yard because this big pile turns into a muddy mess; and back where they put the line in near my clothesline, you just sink in the mud.”

Carla Van Norstran said that all of this started in November of last year, when she came home from work to find that workers for Holman Construction – the firm hired to install the new district – had dug up a large section of her back yard.

“I asked them what they were doing, and they told me that they weren’t able to find my septic tank,” Carla Van Norstran said. “I had already told them exactly where it was, and I even asked why they didn’t simply walk down in the basement where they’d been dozens and times and look at where the pipe left my house, but they didn’t do that.”

There are three covered pipes that are a part of the system, and those pipes should be filled back until they are ground level. At Carla Van Norstran’s home, those three covers are still exposed with dirt missing around them, causing large pools of water when it rains.

A child’s slide coming off the back deck is no longer an option for children coming to the Van Norstran home, because there is a fear that a child will step in the large sink hole that has appeared near the deck steps.

Carla Van Norstran says that she’s spoken to officials at Holman Construction on several occasions since last November, and each time she has been told that they are “on their way to Bennington” to fix the issues.

But they’ve never made it.

She’s also spoken to the Switzerland County Commissioners about getting her back yard fixed. She spoken to officials at the Switzerland County Health Department. Each time she’s gotten a lot of information, but so far no one has come to fix the mess in her yard.

“I really don’t care who fixes it,” Carla Van Norstran says with a laugh. “I’d just like it to be fixed. When this started in November, I understand winter weather and cold weather. Then we had the rain, and they said that held them up. It’s been seven months and a bunch of promises that no one has ever kept. Surely someone could have come out here and fixed this at some point during the past seven months.”

The Moorefield/Bennington Sewer District has yet to establish a board to run it; and is currently being run by the county. County officials have fielded several complaints about the operation of the system since customers went on line with it, and at a recent County Commissioners meeting a discussion was held with officials from Holman Construction about getting the problems with the system fixed and fixed properly.

And Carla Van Norstran simply waits.