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Why is this important?
Like many cities in Iowa, Boone faces a challenge with its sanitary sewer system. During significant rain events, the sewer system can be
overloaded. When it rains, flows can jump up to 20 times the normal amount. Overloaded sewers lead to basement backups and overflows
of untreated sewage to Honey Creek and the Des Moines River.
The city is being urged by the EPA and Iowa DNR to reduce overflows. The city has already invested millions of dollars in improving the
public sewer mains and lift stations. However it isn’t enough to solve the problem. It is possible that the DNR could require us to install an
additional $3 million dollar flow equalization basin at the wastewater treatment plant unless the excess clear water is removed from the
sanitary sewer system.
Excess clear water enters the system from cracks in sewer mains and manholes along with private sources such as sump pumps, basement
seepage collection systems, defective service laterals and roof drains. Removing private sources of clear water is essential to solving the
A major source of private clear water in the sanitary sewer system is sump pumps. A sump pump removes ground water from around a home’s foundation. The proper place for a sump pump to discharge is to the exterior of the home or storm sewer street intake if available.
The improper place for it to go is the sanitary sewer because this unnecessarily increases treatment costs. A single sump pump discharges between 20-100 gallons per minute (gpm). It only takes a few improperly connected sump pumps to overload a neighborhood sewer main
that has a typical capacity of 400 gpm.
What should I do?
With the revision of Ordinance 96.07 prohibiting all storm water connections to the sanitary sewer system, the City needs your help to remove clear water
from the sanitary sewer system. Check to make sure your sump pumps, seepage collection system and roof drains discharge outside your home to
yard space, garden space or storm sewer if available.
It’s also the neighborly thing to do to make sure your sump pump isn’t going into the sanitary sewer because your pumpage may end up in someone’s basement as overflow.
What is an inspection?
An inspection is a visual observation of the exterior of the foundation and the basement to
observe exterior grading,
roof drains, sump pit/pump and seepage collection system if present. The observation will confirm that no clear water connections to the sanitary sewer exist. A typical inspection is completed in less than 15 minutes. There will be no charge
for these inspections.
What’s the next step?
The inspection program began in 2019 with approximately 600 homes between Main
Street and Division Street north of College Street. The program continued in 2020 with approximately 800 homes, between 10th Street and 22nd Street east of Story St. This year (2021) is the third year of the program and it includes approximately 800 homes, between Story Street and Division Street north of the railroad tracks. If your property is within the inspection area you will be notified by mail of the upcoming work.
Check out the links below for FAQs, proper sump pump installation diagrams, program updates and more!