City to discuss sewer system problems

By Paul Wagner

Causes and possible solutions to the problem of storm water entering the sanitary sewer system will be discussed at a special meeting of the DeKalb City Council tonight.

It is the second of two meetings concerning August’s flooding problems. At the city’s first flood meeting Nov. 16, the council met to prioritize storm water management projects totaling more than $13 million. Costs to the city, levels of storm protection and the extent of problems might be used to prioritize projects, Stevens said.

City Manager Mark Stevens stated in a memo to the council that when excess water enters the sanitary sewer system, water and waste flow greater than the system’s capacity. The result is sanitary sewer backups and overflow into resident’s basements.

A major area of discussion will be illegal sump pump and downspout connections in which water is pumped into the sanitary sewer system, the memo stated.

DeKalb city and sanitary district ordinances prohibit the cross connection of storm and sanitary sewer systems.

Possible problems with the sump pump program designed to enforce ordinances are finding violations if property owners deny entry, ensuring disconnected sump pumps are not reconnected and determining what to do with water from disconnected pumps.

Other discussions include evaluations of problem areas. The memo stated these discussions will include what has been done, what should be done and who should pay to do something.

It stated a final area of discussion is the “roles and responsibilities” of the city, sanitary district and property owners.

The meeting, which is at 7 p.m. in the basement classroom of the municipal building, will begin with a report of the city’s perspective by Stevens and Director of Public Works Ronald Naylor.

The meeting also will include a report from DeKalb Sanitary District Manager Mike Zima and questions from council members and the audience.

August’s floods cost the city $25,000 for employee overtime, equipment and materials.