Home & Garden

Lexington renews push to get home sump pumps connected to proper sewer system

The city is making a new push to alleviate Lexington's sanitary sewer overflow problems by targeting sump pumps.

On Tuesday night, about 35 people attended a meeting at Open Door Church on Addison Avenue to learn more about how the program might affect them.

Charlie Martin, director of the city's Division of Water Quality, said sump pumps were "the cheapest thing we can fix" when it comes to reclaiming sanitary sewer capacity.

Martin said that for years, many homes were built so their sump pumps drained into the sanitary sewer system, when the water should be going into the storm sewer.

Under the Private Infiltration & Inflow Elimination Program, the city is reimbursing property owners up to $3,000 to have a licensed plumber redirect sump pumps that are connected to the sanitary sewer.

During the past 10 years, the city has redirected 1,200 sump pumps. But until last year, the program, also called the Sump Pump Redirection Program, was voluntary.

Under an ordinance passed in 2012, owners are required to allow the city to inspect their property to see if sump pumps are tied into the sanitary sewer system. Property owners may be charged $75 a month for not cooperating.

Those changes, Martin said, are allowing the city to address the problem in an organized way.

He said the city was making it a priority to go house to house in neighborhoods where there are sanitary sewer problems, many homes with basements and where there are storm sewers nearby that sump pumps can be directed to.

The city already has redirected 17 sump pumps in the Harrods Hill neighborhood. Now, inspectors will begin looking at homes in Golf View Estates, where Tuesday's meeting was held.

Also on the list for inspections, Martin said, are the Turfland Mall and Southland Drive areas, particularly Stratford and Sheridan drives. He said commercial properties also are subject to inspection.

Urban County Council member Peggy Henson organized Tuesday's meeting to help provide information to the neighborhood. Several residents asked what parts of their homes would need to be inspected and how the reimbursement worked.

More information about the program is available from LexCall by dialing 311.