Fargo Police and Fargo Public Works Close Portions of 19th Avenue North & 52nd Avenue South; Fargo Solid Waste in Full Operations on Friday Routes

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History of the Sump Pump Program

Heavy rains in 2000 caused major damage to over 35% of the homes in Fargo. Studies found that sanitary backup was to blame for much of the damage, and that sump pumps illegally connected to the sanitary sewer system were a major part of the problem. Homeowners and insurance companies demanded that the City of Fargo do something to reduce this type of property damage. The City of Fargo Sump Pump Program was created in May 2001 to reduce the property damage caused by sanitary sewer backup. Inspections commenced on June 1, 2001.

The original goal was to inspect all 9,983 homes built after 1971 wihin a three-year period to determine how many sump pumps were illegally connected to the sanitary sewer system. That goal was met by June 1, 2004. Inspectors continued to cover new homes and to contact homeowners who did not respond during previous inspection attempts. Inspections continue and include random spot checks to verify that all homeowners are pumping outside during the summer months.

City Regulations for Sump Pumps

The City has adopted an ordinance, Section 17-0211 of the City Sewer Code, establishing an inspection and enforcement process for all properties subject to the regulations. The ordinance generally establishes the following:

No dwelling constructed after September 21, 1971, shall have surface runoff or foundation drainage systems connected to the sanitary sewer.

After June 1, 2001, City personnel, or its designated representatives, shall have authority to inspect all dwellings constructed after September 21, 1971, to verify compliance.

Properties found to be non-compliant are subject to a monthly surcharge penalty as set by Commission resolution.

The City Engineer for Utilities shall have the authority to grant waivers to the ordinance in the form of seasonal or non-seasonal waivers.

Seasonal and non-seasonal waivers are subject to an additional monthly fee as set by Commission resolution. The additional fee shall be added to the propertys utility bill.

New construction found to be non-compliant at, or prior to, final inspection shall be subject to administrative penalties as set by Commission resolution. To view the City ordinance click here.

Commission Resolution

Resolution prescribing waiver fees and administrative penalties associated with surface runoff or groundwater system connections to the sanitary sewer.

BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, under and pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-0211 and Section 22-0432 of the Fargo Municipal Code of the City of Fargo, as amended, the waiver fees and administrative penalties stated in this regulation are established and shall be payable by the property owners of dwellings constructed after September 21, 1971, to which sanitary sewer service is provided.

For each dwelling granted a seasonal discharge waiver, there shall be a monthly fee of $3 ($36/year) added to the City utility bill.

For each dwelling granted a non-seasonal discharge waiver, there shall be a monthly fee of $15 ($180/year) added to the City utility bill.

For each existing dwelling found to be non-compliant and without waiver, there shall be a monthly penalty of $25 added to the City utility bill.

For new construction, if at or prior to final inspection, the dwelling is found to be illegally connected to the sanitary sewer or surface runoff and/or groundwater is allowed to enter the sanitary sewer, a $500 penalty shall be levied against the general contractor. If, after receiving 24-hour written notice, the illegal connection or access to the sanitary sewer has not been corrected, a $100 monthly penalty shall be levied against the general contractor for each month the violation exists.

For new construction, if at or prior to final inspection, the dwelling is found to be illegally connected to the sanitary sewer or surface runoff and/or groundwater is allowed to enter the sanitary sewer, a $500 penalty shall be levied against the general contractor. If, after receiving 24-hour written notice, the illegal connection or access to the sanitary sewer has not been corrected, a $100 monthly penalty shall be levied against the general contractor for each month the violation exists.