LETTER FROM THE CITY OF NICOLLET – City Clerks Office
As a homeowner, you have more control over basement backups and sanitary sewer overflows than you may realize. Proper home and business sanitary sewer connections are the single most important factor in controlling flow into the sanitary sewer collection systems and ensuring that the system is able to function as designed.
When the sanitary sewer collection system fails to operate adequately, as in the case of extreme or extended periods of rainfall, the primary cause is CLEARWATER. Clearwater is groundwater or rainwater that should be conveyed to the street or storm sewer system. Clearwater in the sanitary sewer collection system adds significant costs for all of us by overloading the pipes and treatment facility. Though you may not be aware, it is ILLEGAL to divert clearwater into the sanitary system!
Clearwater enters the collection system in two ways – Inflow and Infiltration (I&I). Inflow occurs when rainwater is misdirected into the sanitary system. Inflow comes from rain leaders, foundation drains and sump pumps that are illegally connected to the sanitary system. Infiltration occurs when ground water seeps into the sanitary system through cracks or leaks in the pipes. While the City has been actively addressing infiltration by replacing older, deteriorated pipes through expensive reconstruction projects, the inflow problem continues to get worse.
City Ordinance No.146 states that a sump pump system shall be installed in all buildings intended for occupancy, unless such building is constructed at or above-grade and there is no basement or below-grade floor elevation. Further, this system shall include a permanently installed discharge line to the exterior of the building, to a storm sewer, or to the street. The discharge line shall be of rigid construction with permanent fittings, free of valving or quick connections allowing the discharge to be easily altered.
The City Council has allowed for a 90-day grace period for compliance with this ordinance. Therefore, inspections of buildings will be delayed until September of this year. Any building found in violation of the ordinance will be notified and have 10 days to schedule a re-inspection to verify compliance or be subject to a $100 monthly surcharge on their utility bill. The City will maintain compliance records as well as perform inspections to re-verify compliance of a portion of the City each year.
The clearwater issue affects everyone and the solution requires a community-wide effort. Your commitment to corrective action will protect your family, neighbors and our environment!
Required inspection appointments will be scheduled this summer – additional information on this process is forthcoming. Please contact City Hall if you have any questions.