Columbia cracks down on illegal sewer connections

2 years 10 months 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
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suburban St. Louis student after finding a loaded gun and a razor inside... More >>
5 minutes ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:46:15 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison in the 1984 beating death... More >>
41 minutes ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:10:16 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City doctor has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for his... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 6:51:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican opponent Josh Hawley were sometimes heated and often derisive as they... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce will debut its plans to install a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Friday at... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 8:16:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Issues like Proposition D, Vision Zero and more were discussed at Thursday night's Transportation Committee Meeting in Columbia.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 7:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
MEXICO - October is domestic violence awareness month and businesses across Mexico are showing their support for survivors by decorating... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her Republican opponent, Josh Hawley, are hoping for a debate win tonight... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 5:43:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Latest on the trial of two maintenance workers charged with misleading investigators after a 10-year-old... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 5:09:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of people gathered for the grand opening of CenterPointe Hospital on International Drive Thursday. Governor Mike... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:42:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The influence of lower prices and convenience are affecting the way millennials approach primary care, according to... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:38:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU honored Dr. George Smith, the first Nobel Prize winner in university history, with a reserved space to... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:30:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
MOBERLY - Police arrested a man Wednesday after a search warrant led to finding five gallon-sized bags of marijuana. ... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 3:08:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - State House of Representative candidates talked public transportation and education, amongst other things, at a disability issues forum... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 2:00:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Officers have arrested one man after a home invasion Wednesday night, but are still looking for a second... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 1:58:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Jurors on Thursday began deliberating the case of two Kansas water park maintenance workers accused... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 12:39:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a man who was in a wheelchair has been found dead in a... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 10:52:34 AM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a St. Louis police officer has shot and wounded a suspect during a struggle... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 10:48:28 AM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
8am 48°
9am 48°
10am 50°
11am 51°