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Wastewater

Posted on: November 6, 2019

Temporary Sump Pump Variance

Sump Pump Variance

As of October 15th, any home or business that needs to continue operating a sump pump discharging clear water may request a variance to discharge to the sanitary sewer. The temporary variance is normally from October 15th to April 15th and must be renewed each year; the variance period may be shortened if necessary. Applications for a written variance may be made via the City’s website at http://www.watertownsd.us/variance. Applicants without internet access may apply for a variance by calling the Wastewater Treatment Facility at 882-6244. Discharges of clear water to the sanitary sewer without first obtaining a written variance is not permissible.

Although the variance period begins October 15th, applicants are encouraged to stay out of the sanitary sewer as long as possible. Laying your sump pump hose on a declining surface (board, snow drift, etc.) so it drains empty during freezing conditions will prolong the time you are able to stay out of the sanitary sewer.

Sump pump flows have a significant impact on the sewer system. A 1/3 HP sump running 15 minutes per hour for a 24 hour period can discharge approximately 10,800 gallons per day. If 100 sump pumps operate under these conditions, this would amount in an additional 1,080,000 gallons per day into the system! The average design flow of the wastewater facility is 4,000,000 gallons per day.

The cost of treating clean sump pump water is the same as treating polluted wastewater. Increased flows due to clean sump pump water result in increased costs at the wastewater facility. Continued increased flows could result in an increase in sewer rates. Excessive sump pump discharges into the sanitary sewer could also result in the sanitary sewer system flooding your basement and/or your neighbor's basements.

The installation of gutters and downspouts is an effective and easy means of water management if downspout extensions are in place and long enough to convey the water away from the foundation.

Ensure that the soil or landscaping around the perimeter of your entire home slopes away from the foundation. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t clearly see the slope with your eye it’s not sloped enough. Where a large area of land slopes toward the house, surface drainage should be intercepted and rerouted some distance from the house.

Please be advised that if you are identified as discharging unpolluted water and/or sump pump discharges into the sanitary sewer when the temporary seasonal variance period is not in effect or without a written variance during the temporary seasonal variance period you could be subjected to the criminal penalties associated with a Class 2 Misdemeanor, including up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.  Additionally, each day on which noncompliance shall occur or continue to occur shall be deemed a separate and distinct violation.

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