Nearly 190 miles of sanitary sewer extends underground beneath our city. Typically, this system of sewers transports wastewater from homes and businesses to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
During times of wet, rainy weather a unique problem presents itself. "Illegal water" is discharged into sewers, which may already be operating at near or full capacity, which causes sewage backups.
City Code does not allow groundwater that is collected in footing or drain tiles to be deposited into the City's system of sanitary sewers. This "illegal" problem regularly presents itself in Cedar Falls. Citizens may contribute to their own or to their neighbor's sanitary sewer back-up problems from such illegal connections.
Often, water collected by tiles, which is substantial, collects at a low point and is then discharged via a sump pump. Sanitary sewers were not designed to accommodate the volume of water generated by subsoil drainage systems. An expensive overload can occur.
Where should the discharge by sump pumps be directed? It is legal, advisable and desirable for this water to be discharged into side or rear yards, into drainage ditches, or into City storm sewers with approved connections to street drainage systems. This should not be confused with the separate system of sanitary sewers.
If there are drainage tiles surrounding your home or business, where is the ground water collected by this system deposited? If it is going to the City's sanitary sewer system, you can help solve the sewer system overload by voluntarily correcting this problem.
More information can be found by accessing the City Code online, by contacting a plumbing contractor, or by calling the City's Inspection Services Division at (319) 268-5161.