Sump issues, Council looks at curbing sump pump misuseThe Jamestown Public Works committee discussed ways to deal with the problem of sump pumps draining into the sanitary sewer system during city committee meetings Tuesday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Public Works committee discussed ways to deal with the problem of sump pumps draining into the sanitary sewer system during city committee meetings Tuesday.
The Jamestown Finance and Legal, Building, Planning and Zoning, Civic Center and Promotion, Fire and Police and Publics Works committees all met Tuesday rather than over two days because of the League of Cities Convention later this week.
“Can we identify who is doing this without going door to door?” asked Ken Schulz, city councilman. “I think there are a majority of people who are doing everything they can to help the city avoid these problems and don’t want to see others making things worse.”
Ken Dalsted, city attorney, said sending police to search a home for a sump pump violation would involve search warrants if the intent was to levy criminal charges against violators.
Sump pumps are believed to be part of the problem of high water flows in the sanitary sewer system. Old leaking sewer pipes are also a factor. The excess water entering the sanitary system taxes the capacity of the lift stations and has lead to concerns the sewer system could fail.
Katie Andersen, Jamestown mayor, suggested that money had been set aside to provide education about the problem.
“I find it very difficult to believe that anyone in the community is not aware of the problem,” said Jeff Fuchs, city administrator. “They even comment on how they disregard the law on the Areavoices part of The Jamestown Sun website.”
Pat Nygaard, city councilman, suggested that neighbors could alert city officials to violators. The city could then proceed with an enforcement action.
Another option, suggested by Dalsted but not discussed by the board, was to institute a city-wide assessment that homeowners could opt out of by allowing inspections of their basement and sewer connections.
“Those people willing to comply have,” Fuchs said. “The rest don’t care and aren’t concerned about what could happen to the neighbor down the street.”
The Public Works Committee also heard a brief report on changes to snow removal plans in Jamestown for the upcoming winter. The primary concern is the roads leading to the Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
“We’ve worked it out with the state DOT to still use interstate to get to the bypass with plows and emergency vehicles even if interstate is closed,” said Harold Sad, street superintendent for Jamestown. “We’ll have to have someone plowing 24 hours per day because that area does blow in.”
The street department is also removing the area of the old Jamestown Hospital from the snow emergency routes. This means the snow in that area will no longer be hauled away but pushed to the road edge similar to snow removal in residential areas.
The street department also plans to haul any snow it does remove to a field near the city garbage baler. This is farther from the area of the proposed dog park, where city crews had hauled snow in previous years.
“The longer haul means more time and time is money,” Andersen said. “And it slows the snow-removal process for the entire city.”
The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department had voted to deny any future snow dumping on the dog park site during its last meeting.
In other action, the various city committees approved and sent recommendations to the City Council to:
* Provide funding in the amount of $50,000 as the city share of the operations of the Central Valley Health District as part of the 2012 budget. CVHD had requested about $54,000.
* Provided for additional “no parking” signs in the residential area near the Buffalo Motel. Residents were urged to call the dispatch center and report violators in the area.
* Refused to enter into an agreement with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway concerning signs warning residents not to park on the railroad tracks at First Avenue and First Street.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com