Approximately 40 residents of the Ament Addition neighborhood attended a special City Council meeting on Thursday, September 21 at the Cherokee Community Center. The meeting was held to explain proposed city plans to implement the disconnection of all ground water tiles and/or sump pumps from the City's sanitary sewer system.
Residents that have drain tile systems or sump pumps connected to the sanitary sewer system will be given a deadline to disconnect from the sanitary sewer system, or to provide an executed contract that provides for disconnection prior to a certain date.
Should they choose not to do so, it is being recommended that the City create an assessment district, whereby the City will contract the disconnection of each household from the sanitary sewer system. The specific deadline dates will be confirmed by the City Council at their next regular Council meeting on October 13, 2009, provided the City Council confirms recommendations being made by City personnel and the City Special Engineer, John Devitt.
Administrator Don Eikmeier emphasized that cross connection prohibition is not just an Ament Addition requirement, rather it is applicable to all City properties. Section 97.01 of City Code prohibits any connection to the sanitary sewer system that allows ground water or storm water to enter the system. Although the City has initiated the disconnection program in the western half of Ament Addition, plans are being made to educate all citizens of the ban on cross connections, and to begin a program whereby city personnel will inspect all homes and businesses to look for any possible cross connections.
Devitt explained that the annual cost of processing the extra water that comes through the treatment plant from storm water or ground water approximates $20,000 plus ñ for electrical costs alone, not including maintenance and repair costs of equipment and pumps. A city of 5,000 persons should average approximately 2,500,000 gallons of wastewater entering the treatment plant per day. During rain events and/or sustained wet periods the plant has received up to 6 million gallons of waste per day. To keep wastewater rates from increasing even further, the City must address this issue. A secondary reason to resolve the issues is to comply with federal and state mandates prohibiting storm water and groundwater from entering into the wastewater system.
All Cherokee citizens with sump pumps or drainage tile are encouraged to verify that cross connections to the sanitary sewer system are not present. If you are unsure, please contact your local plumber for assistance, or contact the City who will have qualified personnel inspect your home for cross connections. If cross connections do exist, plans should be made as soon as possible to remove the connection to the sanitary sewer system.
Citizens disconnecting from the sanitary sewer system may connect their sump pump or drain tile to the city storm sewer, if storm sewer mains abut your property. If storm sewer collection mains are not present, the homeowner may run a line to a garden, an adjacent ditch line, or to your lawn. If you choose to do the latter, please contact a plumber or drain layer to insure that you are not allowing the water to seep back towards the foundation of your home.
In addition to explaining the disconnection program to be considered by the City Council on October 13, residents also had the opportunity to ask questions and offer comment on the program.
For more information regarding the cross connections, please contact Don Eikmeier, Administrator, at 225-5749, or Jim Agnitsch, Street Superintendent, at 225-5229.