A review of one Greenwood neighborhood found more than 30 homes were improperly draining water into the city’s sewers, and officials know there are more.
Earlier this year, the city started a pilot program in the Whispering Trails neighborhood to find out how many homes had sump pumps draining into the sewer system. The issue is one the city is concerned about because the water coming from those sump pumps, especially in heavy rains, can cause the sewer system to overflow, which is a problem the state is requiring Greenwood to address after a previous overflow killed hundreds of fish.
In the future, the city will be required to inspect all homes for issues that could lead to sewer overflows, such as having sump pumps draining into the sewer system. Officials are starting now to try to address those issues.
Homeowners also should look into any issues in their home, since in the future the city is considering a tiered sewer fee that would decrease if homes have passed an inspection by the city, city stormwater superintendent Chris Jones said.
Officials aren’t sure how those inspections will happen and if more neighborhoods will be included in a similar pilot program. Homes built in the 1960s and 1970s are most likely to have sump pumps that drain into the sewage system, instead of outside the homes, because the improper practice was more common then, Jones said.
About half the homes in the Whispering Trails neighborhood agreed to participate in the pilot program after the city sent out letters. Of the 138 homes inspected, 32 had sump pumps connected to the sewer system. The city then offered to reimburse homeowners up to $500 to redirect where their sump pumps drain. Some did the work themselves, and others hired someone to do the work. Some paid more than the city reimbursed, Jones said.
Jones is not yet sure if the city will do a similar program, including reimbursing residents, in other neighborhoods. That will depend on whether the funding is available, he said.
The city has identified neighborhoods with high flows into the sewage system, especially during heavy rains, where officials will look for issues that could lead to sewage overflows.