Lakehaven is serious about its job to ensure reliable and environmentally conscious sewer service for our customers. A big part of that job is making sure that we aren’t spending money unnecessarily. Just as we are reducing maintenance and treatment costs by preventing excess fats, oils and grease from entering the sewer system, we would like to reduce costs associated with rainwater that doesn’t belong in the system.
We are doing everything we can to keep water from infiltrating our wastewater system. This includes lining sewer mains and sealing manholes in areas that have high ground water levels and maintaining the pipe in the public right of way. We are challenged with rainwater entering the system from private property,though.
Homeowners can have trouble with drainage on their property when it rains, which sometimes enters their crawl spaces and basements. That problem is sometimes addressed by the homeowner installing a sump pump or a foundation drain. The problem for the sewer system occurs when that water is conveniently and illegally routed away from the house through the sewer lateral. A single sump pump can send more than 7,000 gallons of water to the system during a rainfall event. That’s about the same volume of liquids as the average daily flow from 33 homes! One city in the Midwest part of the country did a study and found that over twenty-five percent of its residential properties had foundation drains improperly connected to the sewer lateral.
It costs money to unnecessarily treat this clean rain water. Not only are there chemical and other treatment costs for the volume of water, but there also are costs associated with the loss of system capacity. Our smaller treatment plant at Redondo does not have room to add capacity to handle the massive spikes in flow from rainwater. The utility must consider other expensive options to deal with the inflow, such as increasing our outfall capacity, or possibly rerouting the water to our larger plant at Lakota.
You can help us battle the problem of rainwater entering the sewer system. Do you know if you have a foundation drain or a sump pump connected to your sewer lateral? You certainly want to find this out when you are purchasing a home. An inspection of the sewer lateral will show if there are cross connections, leaks, or blockages that should be addressed. Please insist that this be part of your new home inspection and that any drainage issues be resolved as part of the sale.
By making sure your property’s drainage is not connected to the sewer system, you can help the District save resources and keep rates down. Thanks!