Inflow: Sump Pump Inspection Program
Inflow is an improper connection that lets water from sources other than sanitary fixtures and drains to enter the sanitary sewer system. Improper connections can be made in either residential homes or businesses and can contribute a significant amount of water to sanitary sewer systems. Eight inch sanitary sewer pipes can adequately move the domestic wastewater flow from up to 200 homes, but only eight sump pumps operating at full capacity connected to the sanitary sewer pipe will overload the capacity of the same eight inch sewer pipes. Pumping stations and treatment plants are designed to treat a certain volume. When that volume is exceeded, new facilities need to be constructed which are very costly. It is estimated that one sump pump may contribute up to 25 times the average flow per home. That is one of many reasons that pumping excess drainage or crawl space water into the municipal sewer system is strictly prohibited.
PAWSD has implemented a sump pump inspection program whereby over time the District will require an inspection of all properties receiving wastewater service. This program is necessitated due to the large number of sump pumps installed and suspected to be connected to the public sewer system. Although it may seem like a perfectly logical step to connect sump pumps, roof drains, and similar clear water sources to the sewer piping system under homes and businesses, it is illegal, highly problematic, and carries with it possible penalties.
The addition of “clear water” sources like those mentioned above can require a sewer facility to be expanded many years before it would otherwise be needed requiring customers to pay millions of dollars in unnecessary expansion costs. Therefore the need to inspect all properties receiving wastewater service from the District for the presence of sump pumps. The District fully realizes that many people might be unaware that they even have a sump pump as it may have been installed prior to their purchase of the home. Or possibly owners know they have a sump pump but don’t know where it discharges to. Many of the customers we have talked to recently were simply unaware that it was illegal to connect these pumps to the sewer system and have been very cooperative in having them re-plumbed so they discharge out to their yard.
District staff will NOT enter a home without owner permission. District staff will be especially sensitive and careful not to track any dirt or mud into your home or business or to disrupt things in any way. Our goal is to reduce these clear water flows dramatically in our system with cooperation from all of our great customers without assessing any penalties. We realize that many homes are unoccupied at certain times of the year and if this is the case when you get your notice in the mail, please make some type of arrangement to have a responsible adult of your choice available to allow District inspectors access to wherever your sump pump would be if you had one. Once again all wastewater customers must be inspected to confirm the presence or absence of these units. All PAWSD inspectors will carry a photo identification badge on their person while performing these tasks and will not enter the premises unless a responsible adult approves. Depending on the complexity of the crawl space or access, the inspection could take as little as a couple of minutes to 30 minutes. The occupant present during the inspection will receive a copy of the inspection report for their files before the inspector leaves.