Beginning in 2014 all homes and businesses connected to Grinnell's sanitary sewer system will need to be inspected for improperly connected sump pumps. Per City Code, Chapter 95.04 sump pumps need to discharge to the storm water system or to your yard.
Why is the City doing this?
During times of wet, rainy weather, such as the rains that Grinnell experienced in May, 2013, water collected by footing tiles, which is substantial, collects at a low point in basements and is then discharged via a sump pump. Sanitary sewers were not designed to accommodate the volume of water generated by subsoil drainage systems. Water from sump pumps that discharge into a sanitary sewer system already operating at or near full capacity can cause backup of sewage water into basements and an expensive overload to the sanitary sewer system.
What do I need to do?
Have your sump pump inspected either by a City of Grinnell staff person or, if you wish, by a State of Iowa licensed plumber. To have an inspection by city staff, contact the city office at 641-236-2600. Their office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. There is no charge to have city staff perform the inspection.
I don't have a sump pump, do I still need an inspection?
Yes, all homes and businesses need to have an inspection. The only exceptions are trailer homes in either of Grinnell's mobile home parks and individual apartments in apartment buildings.
I don't know if my sump pump is connected properly or not, what should I do?
Contact the city or a licensed plumber for an inspection, either will let you know if your connection is proper or not.
My sump pump is discharging to the sanitary sewer, what should I do?
Contact city staff to review your correction options. The grant program available from the city to reimburse a portion of the cost of the work has expired. The deadlines to be eligible for grant funds were initial inspection completed by June 30, 2015 with correction and final inspection completed by November 1, 2015.
I rent my home, am I responsible for having my home inspected?
The property owner is responsible for the inspection, but may need your cooperation in allowing the inspector into your home.
How much time do I have to have my home inspected?
To avoid a surcharge, all inspections must be completed by December 31, 2014. If you have an improperly connected sump pump the connection needs to be corrected by December 31, 2014 to avoid the surcharge.
What is the surcharge?
Beginning in 2015 a surcharge of $20 per month will be added to property-owners' bills for all homes and businesses either not inspected or having an improperly connected sump pump. That surcharge increases by $20 each year until it reaches the current maximum of $100 per month in 2019. The surcharge can be removed by having your property inspected and verified as not having a sump pump or having a properly connected sump pump.