This week Columbia Water will begin sending out notifications to customers who have defective or broken sewer lateral lines. As part of its Clean Water 2020 initiative, Columbia Water has been inspecting its sanitary sewer lines and undertaking maintenance and replacement of aging sewer infrastructure. During these inspections, Columbia Water staff and contractors have also discovered defects in privately owned sewer laterals.
The private sanitary sewer lateral is the pipe that conveys wastewater from a residence or business to the connection with the public sanitary sewer system. Lateral lines with breaks, line collapses, broken caps, and other defects can let stormwater or groundwater enter the public sanitary sewer system. Stormwater and groundwater do not need to be treated at the wastewater plant. When they do enter a sewer line as extra flow, they become contaminated. This extra flow can cause problems when it contributes to sanitary sewer overflows, contributes to backups into buildings, reduces sewer capacity for the surrounding area, or makes the City take on the unnecessary burden of transporting and treating stormwater or groundwater.
Additional flow into the sewer system is a prohibited discharge under Section 23-102 of the City Code of Ordinances and can have a harmful effect on the sewer system, city personnel, public or private property. Property owners who have broken or defective sewer laterals will be notified with a letter from the City of Columbia that details the location of the problem. Owners are strongly encouraged to contact a certified plumber to fix the issues to their sewer lateral line.
If you receive a letter from Columbia Water and have questions, please contact Customer Care at 803.545.3300.