Trustees of the Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District meet in regular session on April 9, 2019. After a public hearing that drew no written or oral comments, the Trustees unanimously approved the proposed ordinances changes. The ordinance changes increase penalties for violation of the Sanitary District ordinance. The District penalty increases include municipal infractions which can be up to $750 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for each additional offence. Additionally Sanitary District penalty increases included misdemeanors which can be as high as $650 per conviction with possibility of 30 days of imprisonment. Each day that a violation shall continue, it is deemed a separate offense. The penalty changes are for any violation of the Sanitary District Ordinance.

A couple sections or the Sanitary District ordinances were amended. One of the amendments addressed easement encroachments. In the past few years the Sanitary District has had several issues with structures being placed in the easement areas for the public sewer system. Now if a structure, footing, landscaping or other items are placed in the easement area and violates the easement document or easement intent, it is considered a violation of the Sanitary District ordinances and subject to the penalties previously mentioned.

Another section that was amended is for inspections, observations, measurements, sampling and testing of the sewer system of any property which is connected to the public sewer system. If the case arises that a property owner does not allow Sanitary District staff access, the District can not assess a $75.00 surcharge to the property sewer per day that access for inspections, observations, measurements, sampling or testing is not allowed.

These steps are being taken protect the public sewer system from issues that occur. Situations such as sump pumps connect to the public sanitary sewer instead of the storm sewer system cause damages to private property, threaten public health and can impact water quality of the Iowa Great Lakes. Violations of the Sanitary District Ordinances cost the Sanitary District money to address which can lead to increased cost to all customers. The penalties are in place to only impact those who violate the ordinances and makes them financially responsible instead the majority of whose follow the rules.

Additionally since the high water issues in March of 2019, the Sanitary District staff have been searching for illegal connections to the public sewer system, since the snow melted. District staff have located 6 issues in the last 14 days and are continuing to look for additional issues. The Sanitary District is reminding everyone that illegal connections like sump pumps cause flooding of the public sewer system. Make sure your sump is dumping in the right place. If you have a sump pump follow the hose or the pipe make sure it goes out side of your building or home and empties in the yard, on the driveway or in the street (if allowed). If is connected to a pipe in the house you need to make sure it does not go to the public sanitary sewer. Likewise, the sump pump pipe or hose should not be going across the floor to a drain in the floor, because it also goes to the public sewer. With rain coming down is it the perfect time to check and verify the location of where you sump pump water is going.