Private Lateral Sewer Lines -- City Replacement Program (A Proposal)
December 3, 2016
The negative impact of the severe rains and high waters of the July/August 2015 storms, as well as Tropical Storm Colin and Hurrinace Hermine this year, mandates that we keep improvements in our sewer/wastewater infrastructure systems as the highest priority. For a briefing on Gulfport's current work on linear sewer lines, please see my article in this newsletter dated September 28, 2016 (the City's webpage and City Staff can provide you with a more recent update). Please note that I have also requested for an update at an upcoming City Council meeting.
Cities have developed "Private Lateral Sewer Line Replacement Programs" as a complementary strategy to municipal linear sewer line improvements. Together, they help decrease wasterwater in streets during rain events, reduce flooding, potentially reduce manhole discharges, and form a partnership between cities and homeowners to improve overall wasterwater issues.
Private "lateral sewer lines" are the pipes connecting private properties to the public (city owned) linear lines. Information from the Department of Environmental Protection, as well as other cities throughout Pinellas County, indicate that private sewer laterals may be just as old and just as deteriorated as municipal linear pipes. Older private linears in our area may have been contructed 50-60 years ago, made from Orangeburg, clay or cast iron (see photos below).
Older lateral sewer lines compromised due to age, cracks, tree roots, being crushed, rust and disintegration may also play a role in the release of contaminated un-treated wastewater directly from homes onto lawns and streets. In addition, they take in excessive amounts of rain water (v. the rain water draining into the ground/grass) that then enter the already compromised city linear sewer lines. This may play a part on why some of our city streets flood very quickly.
This past summer, I introduced at a Guflport City Council meeting the possibility of us developing a "Private Lateral Sewer Lines Replacement Program." My research and consultation with others show that some City's have been extremely proactive in developing programs that provide homeowners with financial assistance to address their aging lateral sewer pipes.
Here are some examples or ways that City's are helping home owners:
City may cover up to 100% (or 20%, 50%...) of costs for lateral sewer replacement
City may cap rebates/costs to a certain amount; e.g., $500, $1,000, $1,500, $5,000, other
City may decide to provide a flat rate per lateral line (regardless of length)
City may decide to cover permitting fees
City may limit program to one-time only
City may provide rebates for sewer service cleaning charges or plumber video (diagnostic) inspections
Cities may initiate a private lateral replacement program as a pilot
City may set a maximum “cost” per home
City may provide payment or reimbursement via rebate check, or adjusting utility bill
City may develop their program based on income levels
City may determine a set number of homes per year (or feasible based on funding)
NOTE: These are examples of various existing "Private Lateral Sewer Line Replacement Program" designs. Right now, I am not advocating one program design over another. In fact, this may or may not get support for moving forward. My goal right now is to seek input and gauge the level of interest from Gulfport. More importantly the is funding. Such a program should be subject to us requesting and getting approval of funds directly from the state legislature. There is tremendous interest right now from both State Legislators and County Commissioners to help cities like Gulfport develop programs to further improve sewer and wasterwater infrastructure. In fact, I have discussed this idea with our legislators. For now...this is a concept, subject to interest before moving forward.
Please see the Home Page to this newsletter for a detailed set of slides on specific municipal "Private Lateral Sewer Line Replacement Programs." Look for the icon that matches the last photo image below, located at the top, left hand corner of the Home Page.
PLEASE SEE THE "HOME PAGE" FOR A DETAILED SET OF SLIDES ON SPECIFIC MUNICIPAL "PRIVATE LATERAL SEWER LINES REPLACEMENT PROGRAMS." LOOK FOR THE ICON MATCHING THE IMAGE BELOW, TOP LEFT HAND CORNER OF HOME PAGE (CLICK ON ICON)