Maintaining Sewer Lines

Every year the Public Works Department cleans approximately 70 miles of the city's sanitary sewer system as part of its annual maintenance program. Although this maintenance is very costly and time-consuming, the sewer system is cleaned in order to remove sand, grease, and other restrictions that can cause sewer backups. The Public Works Department has continued to notice an increase in the maintenance required for certain sewer lines that have been clogged due to restaurant and car wash businesses.

These businesses are major producers of sand and grease that cause the sewer lines to clog up. These businesses are also built with waste traps or separators that allow the sand and grease to be filtered out, ensuring it will not enter the sanitary sewer system with the other wastewater when properly maintained. Unfortunately, sometimes these systems are not being properly maintained and are responsible for much of the additional and costly maintenance.

Due to this recurring problem, the city has adopted City Ordinance Sec. 23-76, titled Waste Traps and Separators, which specifically deals with the issue of poorly maintained waste traps and separators. This ordinance states, "Waste traps and separators shall be maintained in efficient operating condition by the owner and at the owner's expense, through the periodic removal of any accumulated residue. Failure to maintain traps and separators will result in an administrative fine as set by Council resolution. If evidence shows a trap or separator has not been properly maintained, the city may have the system cleaned at the owner's expense. If further evidence shows the poorly maintained trap or separator is the cause of additional maintenance to the city's sanitary sewer system, the owner/operator of the trap or separator is then responsible for all maintenance expenses associated with the cleaning of the affected sections of sanitary sewer system."

This ordinance is in direct compliance with the Minnesota Plumbing Code, Minnesota Rules, chapter 4714, and Regional Administrator of the Metropolitan Council. These agencies set and maintain the legal standards for waste trap and separator installation, maintenance, and waste discharge.