It is highly likely that many sump pumps have begun to run, as the rain and warmer weather has eaten away at some of the snow piled everywhere around town.

It is highly likely that many sump pumps have begun to run, as the rain and warmer weather has eaten away at some of the snow piled everywhere around town.

One indicator for us is the increased flows into our wastewater treatment lagoons south of town. Normal flows are 350,000 to 450,000 gallons per day.

On Wednesday of last week (3/13) the flow was 550,000 gallons per day. On Thursday (3/14) it was 1,591,000 gallons per day and on Friday (3/15) the flow was 1,717,000 gallons per day. Some of that increase in flow comes from snow melting and running into manholes, thus reaching the sewer collection system, but a great majority of it is from sump pumps pumping into the sanitary sewer system instead of outside on the ground or into the storm sewer system.

Several years ago, the City allowed a connection of a sump pump into the sanitary sewer under very specific and controlled conditions. The connection needs to have two valves, one to the outside discharge pipe and one to the sewer line in the house. It needs to be inspected by the City and controlled by the City. From October 15 to April 1 it is allowable to discharge your sump pump into the sanitary sewer. City crews will come to your residence in April and close the valve to the sewer and open the valve to the outside discharge for the summer months. They will install a zip tie lock on the valve. In October they will cut the lock and switch the valves so water flows into the sewer through the winter. There is a $5 per month fee ($60 for the winter) for each month pumping into the sewer. This is the ONLY way it is legal to discharge your sump pump into the sanitary sewer system.

With the very wet conditions we are having this spring, it is acceptable this year to cut the seal yourself and switch to discharging outside now, before the crews get to your house to do it for you. It would be helpful to get as many systems out of the sanitary sewer as soon as we can, to avoid the additional flows into the sewer ponds south of town.