DISCLAIMER

 

PUBLIC WORKS AND UTILITIES COMMITTEE

 

08-036-O

ORDINANCE NO. __________

 

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTIONS 43-16, 43-25, 43-31, 43-33, 43-33.1, AND 43-36 AND ADDING NEW SECTIONS 43-11.1 AND 43-33.4 TO THE DULUTH CITY CODE, 1959, AS AMENDED, ALL PERTAINING TO PROTECTION OF WATER QUALITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH IMPROVEMENTS IN THE WASTEWATER COLLECTION SYSTEM.

CITY PROPOSAL:

The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1.  That Section 43-16 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-16.  Connection to city sewer system required.

     The owner of all any houses, buildings or properties of any character wherein or whereon wastewater develops or occurs is hereby required, at the owner's expense, to install, and thereafter maintain, suitable wastewater collection facilities therein or thereon and to connect such facilities directly with the proper public sewer in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance [Chapter] at the time of construction of such facilities in the case of new construction or new use or within 90 days after date of official notice to do so in the case of existing housing, buildings or properties, provided that such public sewer is within 200 feet of the property line.

     The owner of such existing premises may appeal such official notice to connect such premises to the proper public sewer by filing a notice of appeal with the city clerk within 15 days of such official notice. It shall be the duty of the city clerk to transmit such notice of appeal to the city council at the next regular or special meeting thereof. The council shall hold a hearing on such appeal within 15 days of the receipt by the council of said notice of appeal. The council may affirm or overturn the official notice to connect such premises to the proper public sewer. The decision by the council on such appeal shall be final. If the council affirms such official notice, the council shall set a time for compliance with such order, which shall in no event exceed 90 days from the date of the hearing on the appeal.

     Section 2.  That Section 43-25 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-25.  Costs of installation.

     All costs and expenses incidental to the installation and connection and maintenance of the building sewer shall be borne by the owner. The owner shall indemnify the city from any loss or damage that may directly or indirectly be occasioned by the installation of the building sewer.

     Section 3.  That Section 43-31 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-31.  Connection of collectors of uUnpolluted water prohibited.

     (a)  No leak, break, failure to function of a building sewer, connection of area way drains, perimeter foundation drains, rain leaders, down spouts or rain connector or any condition of the building sewer that allows other sources of unpolluted waters such as storm water, ground water, roof runoff, subsurface drainage, unpolluted industrial water or cooling water to enter a building sewer or building drain which is connected directly or indirectly to a public sanitary sewer shall be made or allowed to exist unless the director has issued certificate of noncontribution for such building as provided for in Section 43-33.2 below. From time to time, the city may offer programs, grants, or incentives in an effort to improve the sanitary collection system. Regardless of these measures, it is the policy of the city to inspect, enforce, and attain compliance with this code for all buildings and sewers. Enforcement actions separate from any program or incentive are proper. Homes with existing sump pumps will be reinspected to ensure proper functioning. There shall be no fee for this reinspection;

     (b)  No person owning or controlling, in whole or in part, any building shall allow any condition or connection prohibited in Subsection (a) above to be made or to exist or shall fail to cause any such condition or connection existing to be disconnected or remedied within 90 days of being ordered to make such disconnection by director unless the director has issued certificate of noncontribution for such building as provided for in Section 43-33.2 below;

     (c)  No person shall tamper with, modify or make any change to any plumbing materials or equipment necessary to prevent noncompliance with the requirements of Subsection (a) above. Nor shall any owner or person owning or controlling any building permit any person to so tamper with, modify or make any changes to such materials or equipment in such building or fail to maintain in fully functional condition such materials and equipment.

     Section 4.  That Section 43-33 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-33.  Designation of district sewer basin for inspection; inflow and infiltration reduction (I&I) program notice of disconnect requirement.

     Upon recommendation of the director, the council shall designate the district or districts in the city wherein the city can best utilize its available resources to reduce the amount of unpolluted water entering or infiltrating the city’s wastewater collection system, which designation shall constitute the authorization of the I&I program in the sewer basin. Such resolution shall direct the director to notify, in writing, the owners and persons in control of premises connected with the sanitary sewer within such district basin to disconnect any prohibited drain or device and to remedy any circumstance of the building sewer that allows unpolluted water into the wastewater collection system, all within 90 days after the date of such notice. Such notice shall be directed by the director to the owner or person in control of the affected property at the post office address of the person applying for or paying for sewer service for such premises. When so deposited in the post office of the United States, or an adjunct thereof, such deposit shall constitute due service of the notice upon the owner or controlling person therein named.

     Section 5.  That Section 43-33.1 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-33.1.    Inspections; refusal to allow Entry for inspections; building sewer improvement, I&I program.

     (a)  Upon designation of any district sewer basin pursuant to Section 43-33 above, the director shall cause all buildings within said district sewer basin not previously inspected or for which a certificate of noncontribution has not been issued, to be inspected for compliance with Section 43-31 above. Upon determination that any building does not comply with Section 43-31 above and does not qualify for a certificate of noncontribution, the director shall issue an order to disconnect any portion of the plumbing of such building in violation of said Section 43-31, or do any act required to attain compliance;

     (b)  No person shall fail or refuse to allow the director to inspect any building to determine whether the plumbing of such building complies with the requirements of Section 43-31 above after having been given reasonable advance notice of the director’s intent to do so; such notice may be given by mail as provided for in Section 43-33 above or in person or by posting notice thereof on the premises to be inspected. In the event that the owner or person in control of any building shall deny or refuse to allow the director to inspect any such building after such notice has been given, the director may allow the inspection to be made by a qualified person who is not a city employee, in a manner acceptable to the director, having results reported and supported by evidence acceptable to the director, all at the owner’s expense. If the owner or person in control refuses to allow any sufficient inspection, the director shall use such other means as are authorized by law, including but not limited to securing a search warrant for such building or a court order requiring that access be granted in order to gain access to conduct such inspection;

     (c)  (1)  The director, using uniform criteria, shall determine which properties and/or building sewers in the district shall be included in the I&I program. For each building sewer included in the I&I program, sewer inspections required by the director for purposes of the program will be performed by city employees or agents without charge. The director, using uniform criteria, shall annually designate at least 630 building sewers that, as part of the I&I program, will have the building sewer trap removed, footing drains disconnected from the sanitary sewer system, and a sump pump installed. The city will pay up to $2,150 of the reasonable cost of these improvements based upon the uniform criteria in the I&I guidelines;

           (2)  In addition, the director, using uniform criteria, shall annually designate at least 175 malfunctioning building sewers that, as part of the I&I program, will have the building sewer repaired, by lining or otherwise, or replaced. The first $2,000 of the approved reasonable cost of this repair or replacement shall be paid, or reimbursed to the owner, by the city. With prior city approval, the city will also reimburse the approved reasonable cost that is in excess of $8,000. In addition, if footing drain disconnect, building sewer trap removal, and building sewer repair or replacement are all done as a single project under paragraph (1) or (2), then the maximum $2,150 grant of paragraph (1) will apply so that the maximum total grant for that project would be $4,150, but in that event the city will also pay or reimburse to the owner reasonable costs in excess of $10,000. The remainder of the cost of this repair or replacement shall be the responsibility of the owner, who can pay the entire cost at the time of the repair or replacement is done, or, in the alternative, have the cost assessed against the real property of the owner served or benefitted by the private sewer. The assessment shall be payable over a term not to exceed 15 years, at an interest rate the same as that applied to a special assessment for a street improvement. On or before July 1 of each year, the director shall transmit to the city assessor a list of each amount due, including incidental fees and expenses, for repair or replacement of a building sewer under the I&I program, and the parcel or parcels to which each charge relates. Upon receipt of such list, the assessor shall prepare an assessment roll containing, in columns, the name of the owner, if known, of each lot or parcel to be assessed, a description of the property, and the amount of the charges. On or before August 1 of each year, the assessor shall certify the roll to the city council. The city clerk shall send notice by first class mail to the apparent owner of each lot or parcel, and any other person known to have a legal interest in the property, stating the amount. If the city council finds the amount proper and correct, it shall confirm the roll, by resolution, on or before October 1. On or before October 10 of each year, the city treasurer shall file with the county auditor a certified statement of the assessment roll confirmed by the council and not yet paid, in the manner set out in Section 70 of the City Charter, after which the charges shall be collected in the same manner as an assessment under Section 70 of the Charter;

     (d)  A property remains subject to all applicable standards, requirements, and penalties of this Chapter regardless of whether or not it is selected for the I&I program;

     (e)  The I&I program shall terminate on December 31, 2023.

     Section 6.  That Section 43-33.2 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-33.2.    Certificate of noncontribution.

     (a)  Upon inspection of any building by the director for compliance with the requirements of Section 43-31 above and based on that inspection, the director is authorized to issue a certificate of noncontribution in a form suitable for recording among the property records of St. Louis County recorder if he or she determines either that:

           (1)  The sump pump, footing drain disconnect, and building trap removal are in compliance with Section 43-31 above;

        (1 2)  The plumbing materials and equipment as installed and operating in that building are in compliance with the requirements of Section 43-31 above;

        (2 3) The plumbing and equipment in said building is not in compliance with the requirements of Section 43-31 above but the director determines that the building is not contributing any material or observable amounts of unpolluted water to the public wastewater collection system and is not likely to do so in the future;

     (b)  Certificates of noncontribution shall only be issued by the director and persons designated by him or her to issue such certificates. The director shall establish standards and procedures for certifying persons authorized to issue certificates of non-contribution on his or her behalf;

     (c)  In the event that the director determines after reasonable investigation that any building for which a certificate of noncontribution has been issued is now contributing a material or observable amount of unpolluted water to the public wastewater collection system, the director may give notice in the manner provided for in Section 43-33 above of his or her intention to revoke such certificate of noncontribution and that such revocation shall become final 15 days of the date of giving such notice unless the affected owner or person in control of the affected building files a written appeal of that decision with the city clerk prior to the revocation of the certificate. Any such appeal shall be heard by the building appeals board in accordance with the procedures established under Section 10-5 of this Code. When the revocation of any certificate of noncontribution has become final, the director shall cause notice there to be filed in the office of the St. Louis County recorder.

     Section 7.  That Section 43-36 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 43-36.  Requirements of connection.

     The connection of the building sewer into the public sewer shall conform to the requirements of the Building and Plumbing Code or other applicable rules and regulations of the city. A building sewer constructed in whole or part from vetrified clay pipe or its equivalent shall not be allowed. All Any such connections shall be made gastight and watertight and verified by proper testing. The director shall have authority to promulgate rules, regulations and tests as to the manner in which connections shall be made and such rules, regulations and tests when so promulgated and filed with the city clerk shall be met.

     Section 8. That the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended by adding a new Section 43.11.1 to read as follows:

Sec. 43-11.1.    I&I surcharge.

     (a)  In order to protect the public health and the environment, the city, under order from the United States environmental protection agency and Minnesota pollution control agency must improve its wastewater collection system. Therefore, there shall be created an I&I surcharge upon each customer and user, commencing June 1, 2008 and terminating June 1, 2023. The amount of the monthly surcharge shall be $9.70. There is also created in the city accounting system a fund known as the I&I fund. Into the fund shall be deposited the following amounts:

           (1)  The amounts collected as the I&I surcharge under this section;

           (2)  Any amount allocated to it by action of the city council or city administration;

           (3)  Any amounts received by the city for payments for assessments or improvements under Sections 43-33.1 or 43-33.4;

           (4)  Any amounts received as penalties for violation of Chapter 43, Article IV;

           (5)  Any amount received as fees under Section 43-33.4(b);

           (6)  Any amount received as the surcharge authorized by Section 43-12.1;

           (7)  Any interest earned by the fund;

           (8)  Any loans or grants received by the city for the purpose of designing, constructing, repairing, maintaining, or replacing structures or facilities for the purpose of attaining compliance with federal or state I&I standards, or any consent decree for that purpose which is binding on the city.

     The money in the fund shall be spent only for the purpose set out in (8) above.

     (b)  Hardship and contingency fund. A part of the I&I fund shall be a hardship and contingency fund. The amount of this fund shall be determined by the director and approved by the city auditor. It shall be used in compliance with uniform criteria established by the director, and only for the purposes set out in (8) above. Whenever possible, funds so used shall be repaid by assessment to the property benefitted in the manner set out in Sec. 43-33.1(c)(2). It shall be used for hardship cases, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances. It shall be used only for public purposes.

     Section 9. That the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, be amended by adding a new Section 43-33.4 to read as follows:

Sec. 43-33.4.    Repairs required at time of sale.

     (a)  This Section 43-33.4 applies to transfers of ownership of property which property is required to be served by the city’s public sanitary sewer, as set out in Section 43-16, or its successor;

     (b)  At least 30 days before a transfer of title to, or the entering into of a contract for deed for, or contract for sale of, real estate, which contract gives the buyer a right of possession, the seller shall notify the director of the date of the sale closing and arrange for a building sewer inspection to determine whether the property requires a sump pump, building sewer trap removal, and footing drain trap removal in order to be in compliance with this Chapter;

     (c)  If the building sewer contains a house trap, it shall be removed. If the property requires footing drain disconnections and sump pump installation, it shall be done. The cost of this work is the responsibility of the owner. The required repairs shall be completed within 90 days after the sale closing. If they are satisfactorily completed, the director shall issue a certificate of noncompliance from footing drain contribution only. If the required repairs are not satisfactorily completed, the owner or customer shall be charged a monthly surcharge of $250 each month until the repairs are satisfactorily completed;

     Section 10.That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its passage and publication.


PW&U/ATTY


STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This ordinance sets requirements for the city sanitary sewer system and a program to stop sanitary sewer overflows and protect Lake Superior and the public health. The goal of the city is to bring all buildings into compliance. Features of the ordinance and program are:

 

1.   Each private sewer will be subject to the legal requirement that it function properly, be maintained, have no leaks, and will not contribute to inflow and infiltration.

 

2.   Building sewers shall not be constructed of clay tile.

 

3.   An inflow and infiltration elimination program shall be conducted to progress from one geographical district to the next.

 

4.   Building sewers in each district shall be inspected to determine those that need repair.

 

5.   Each year at least 630 homes shall have footing drains disconnected, sump pump installed, and building sewer trap removed under the city program. The city shall pay up to $2,150 for this work.

 

6.   Each year at least 175 homes shall have the building sewer replaced or rehabilitated. The city shall pay the first $2,000 of the cost, and any approved costs in excess of $8,000, and an assessment process shall be available to finance improvement that qualifies.

 

7.   At the time of sale of a house, the city shall inspect to see if footing drain disconnect, sewer trap removal, and sump pump installation or repair is needed. If it is, the owner shall complete repairs within 90 days. If repairs are not completed, a $250 monthly surcharge will be imposed.

 

8.   Appropriate certificates of non-contribution will be issued when improvements are completed.

 

9.   A clean water surcharge of $9.70 per month shall be imposed to finance the program at a level adequate to execute the plan of action and achieve consent decree compliance by 2016.