Didn’t get the sewer inspection? Get ready to pay

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Starting Nov. 1, there will be a monthly fee for Albert Lea homeowners with houses built before 1975 who have not signed up for a sanitary sewer line inspection as part of the city’s inflow and infiltration inspection program.

A fee of $50 per month will be put on noncompliant homeowners’ sewer bills. The fee will remain in effect until the inspection is completed.

The Inflow and Infiltration Sanitary Sewer Line Inspection Program — deemed I & I for short — requires all houses in the city built before 1975 to be checked for foundation drains that are connected to the sanitary sewer. Plumbers conduct video inspections of each drain, and if a connection is found, it is reported to the city.

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The program aims to prevent the treatment plant from reaching full capacity and backing up into people’s home during times of heavy rain.

The cost of the initial inspections are paid for by the city. However, if any additional work needs to be completed to eliminate the cross connections to the sanitary sewer, homeowners will be given the option to pay the plumber outright or to have the cost assessed to their property over a five-year period.

According to City Engineer Steven Jahnke, out of the 5,365 homes needing an inspection, 4,566 have passed the inspection and 155 have failed.

Eighty-one inspections have not been able to be completed and will require further testing, and 38 homeowners have already eliminated bad connections.

Jahnke said there are 485 homes still needing an inspection.

People who have not yet signed up for an inspection can call any licensed plumber to get on the list. They have until Nov. 1 to sign up for an inspection without getting a fee by the city.

Homeowners whose inspections have failed thus far have until August of 2011 to fix the problem.

The program is part of a comprehensive plan to eliminate inflow and infiltration.