Columbia cracks down on illegal sewer connections

4 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Tuesday, December 01 2015 Dec 1, 2015 Tuesday, December 01, 2015 5:21:00 PM CST December 01, 2015 in News
By: Michael Lindquist, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – A report presented to Columbia City Council in September stated that illegal sewer connections are causing backups and overflows in residents homes. 

That's led the City of Columbia to crack down on illegal sewer connections that are leading to messy situations around the city.

The Assistant Director of the Sewer, Storm Water and Solid Waste Divisions for the city David Sorrell said downspouts and sump pumps add more water to the city’s sewers.

“And that rain water gets in the system and it takes capacity of the pipe and it can be so severe that it causes the pipe to be absolutely full and then causes it to either come up in other people’s homes or come out manholes that overflow into the creek,” Sorrell said.

He said the sewer system is not designed to carry all that additional water. 

“Our system for sewer was designed for sewage, not for storm water. We have a separate system in town that supposed to convey run-off to the creeks,” Sorrell said.

According to a report presented to the City Council on September 21, the city inspected 3,665 buildings in the downtown area and 326 were found to have illegal connections. That’s 8.9% of the buildings.

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said inspectors typically find illegal connections in older buildings.

In the report, two methods of inspecting buildings to find illegal connections were presented.

The first method is called the Point of Sale program. This method involves inspectors going into homes when they are sold to inspect for illegal sewer connections at the home owners expense.

St. Romaine said he thinks this method isn’t very efficient because a lot of homes may not ever be tested.

“One is the fact that you have to wait for the sale of the home to go in and actually do the inspections, so depending on how often homes turn over within the community, you know some people live in their homes for 15 to 20 years so we may never get to inspect that home,” St. Romaine said.

The other method involves all rental properties to be inspected every three years at the landlords expense.

St. Romaine said 50 to 60 percent of the homes in Columbia are rentals and to have a program to check them every three years would be the fastest way to eliminate illegal connections. 

“We got to kind of start moving the needle on some of these. We haven’t really been doing as much as we could do and I think some of the low-hanging fruit right now would probably be some of our rental homes that we have in our rental home inspection program,” St. Romaine said.

He said the only consequence home owners have if an illegal connection is found is to help the city pay to eliminate the illegal connection and move it to its proper location.

“I think once people understand that these are illegal connections and the reason why they’re illegal, it’s basically overloading our sewer system, I think most people understand,” St. Romaine said. “It’s really a question of some of the older homes and I say I think a lot of the home owners that have purchased homes over the last few years, unless somebody made the aware of the fact they had a gutter or a sump pump hooked up to the sewer system, they probably wouldn’t even know it.”

St. Romaine said the City Council has not approved either method yet but will start moving toward implementing the rental home inspections.

 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
MID-MISSOURI - Another week in January, and another winter storm. This time around it will likely all happen in one... More >>
4 hours ago Friday, January 17 2020 Jan 17, 2020 Friday, January 17, 2020 4:51:00 AM CST January 17, 2020 in Weather
COLUMBIA - With colder temperatures expected to arrive in mid-Missouri, shelters are preparing to care for those in need. ... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:27:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - One Missouri lawmaker's bill could create new curriculum for schools in the state. House Bill 2153, sponsored... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 5:21:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he plans to fight efforts to expand the number... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
NEW FRANKLIN — In a Facebook post Wednesday afternoon, New Franklin police chief Mike Wise announced plans to step down.... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 2:14:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The announcement of Pinnacle Regional Hospital's closing came suddenly this week, even catching residents off guard who expected... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:57:00 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:35:15 PM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON DC - The United States Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, 89-10, on Wednesday morning, and Senators Josh Hawley... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:32:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is preparing for a possible winter storm forecast for Friday, Jan. 17, per a... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 11:02:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- State senators heard testimony on a bill Thursday morning that could give law enforcement a leg up in... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:52:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
MILTON, FL - Katie Prestesater, a native of Columbia, was recognized as the Naval Air Station Whiting Field Senior Civilian... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:09:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A total of $6 million is available for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects throughout the state,... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:45:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE - A B-2 Stealth Bomber, supported by Team Whiteman’s maintenance Airmen and a ground crew of... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 8:43:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for robbing a St.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 8:06:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Holiday Inn Expo Center will be bustling with diversity leaders and community members Thursday morning for the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, January 16 2020 Jan 16, 2020 Thursday, January 16, 2020 4:30:00 AM CST January 16, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Faith Mejia's children know to drop to the ground whenever they hear gunshots. In 2019 alone, three homicides... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 15 2020 Jan 15, 2020 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:15:00 PM CST January 15, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Missouri Democrats disagreed with parts of Governor Parson's State of the State Address this afternoon. Democrats held... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 15 2020 Jan 15, 2020 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 8:09:00 PM CST January 15, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- For the second time as governor, Mike Parson went before state lawmakers Wednesday afternoon to deliver the annual... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, January 15 2020 Jan 15, 2020 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 6:06:00 PM CST January 15, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 28°
10am 28°
11am 28°
12pm 29°
1pm 30°