Fox Fire is located in Milton in Cabell County.

CHARLESTON – The owners of a local campsite and resort have filed a suit against a public service district, claiming their property suffered damages after raw sewage overflowed onto their property.

Isaiah and Marie Cunningham, the owners of Fox Fire Resort, filed a suit March 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the Salt Rock Sewer Public Service District and Dunn Engineers Inc.

Fox Fire Resort, which was opened by the Cunningham's in 1978, provides an area of recreation, that includes paddle boats, kayaks, putt-putt golf, fishing, swimming pools, playgrounds, athletic fields and hot air balloon rides.

According to the suit, Salt Rock PSD began operating a sewer pump station and grit pit next to the property in March 2006.

"Immediately upon opening ... a noxious odor arose that substantially interfered with the Cunninghams' use of their land both for their own residential purposes and as a resort," the suit says.

The Cunninghams claim the strong odor caused them to move out of their home and build a new home someplace else on the property.

According to the suit, the lift station overflowed on July 1, 2007, dumping raw sewage onto the Cunningham's property, particularly the pond used for recreational fishing.

Clients such as Toyota Manufacturing and Cabell Huntington Hospital used the pond for competitive fishing events, the suit says. However, the fishing pond has to be closed for the entire 2007 season, due to the raw sewage.

The sewage also flowed into the paddle boat/kayak pond, closing it for two weekends, the suit says.

The Cunninghams claim they have been injured in that clients no longer view their resort as a good place to have outings and events. The fish pond is now limited to "catch and release" because the residue of heavy metals from the spill make the fish dangerous to eat, the suit says.

According to the suit, Dunn Engineers negligently designed the pumping station and grit pit, and knew the system would produce noxious odors and create a nuisance for people close to the property.

In the five-count suit, the Cunninghams seek to be covered for annoyance and inconvenience, economic loss, mental anguish and distress, damage to real property and attorney fees. They seek full compensation for their damages.

Attorney Richard Neely is representing the Cunninghams. The case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-502

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