published Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, updated March 30th, 2011 at 7:31 p.m.

Plumbers file suit against WWTA

The local Roto-Rooter plumbing company has filed suit in federal court charging the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority with price-fixing, defamation and violation of due process, an attorney said.

WRCB-TV Channel 3 reported Wednesday night the lawsuit claims that local plumbers are losing business and the WWTA hasn’t paid plumbers the amount promised under the authority’s private service lateral program to test and repair sewer lines.

Chattanooga attorney Jerry Tidwell, who represents Roto-Rooter, told the Times Free Press by telephone Wednesday night that the suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

“The real focus is price-fixing,” Tidwell told the Times Free Press. “Since the [lateral repair program] has begun, Roto-Rooter has had an extraordinary drop in service calls and income. I think the system is the cause.”

WWTA board members could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The WWTA has a goal of testing and repairing 300 lateral lines — those leading from the main sewers to homes and businesses — each month. The authority has recruited plumbers to perform the work for lower cost, but other plumbing companies have said the county program hurts their business.

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TwinkleTN said...

Roto Rooter came to our house, charged over $100 and couldn't fix the problem because it was at the junction to the sewer system. Only after we called WWTA did we find they were not to do the work until the WWTA came. Since they are not authorized to do work in my area they should have never answered the call. So, nothing the WWTA could make me think any worse about Roto Rooter. They are a business with no integrity and should have been fined for doing work in an area they are not authorized to come to.

March 30, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.
ImTellinYa said...

TwinkleTN, your mis-perception of Roto Rooter is one of the reasons that company is suing WWTA. Roto Rooter began as an approved company. They are no longer approved, but from all I have read/heard so far it is not because Roto Rooter has done anything unethical or wrong. The Sewer repair companies are not being paid the going rate for the work they contracted to do, plus the payments are routinely 4 months late. I an not sure of the exact details, but the requirements of the repairs have caused the costs to go up considerably as well. There have been numerous stories in the media about how this $8 fee is no were near enough to pay for all the work. WWTA has prevented Roto Rooter from servicing longer term existing customers. Roto Rooter could have fixed your problem if it was caused in the sewer line to your house before the the lateral line. The authorization comes from the WWTA with the lateral line repair to the connection with the sewer main. You called Roto Rooter, they came to see what the problem was and try to fix it. Roto Rooter does not service the WWTA program because the WWTA is evidently not holding up their part of the contract. For you to suggest Roto Rooter has no integrity because they responded to a customer call is absurd. From a previous story the WWTA is millions of dollars behind in payments. The number of companies still under contract with WWTA are shrinking quickly, have you considered the reasons why?

March 31, 2011 at 10:22 a.m.
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