Ordinance change to allow residents to discharge sump pumps into sewer system in winter?

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Although some people have probably violated the ordinance in covert fashion, it’s long been a no-no for Crookston residents: You cannot discharge water collected and discharged by your sump pump into the City sewer system.

    That’s going to change, at least during the colder months, and all it took was one Crookston resident to bring it up to the powers-that-be at city hall. The matter made it onto the city council’s Ways & Means Committee agenda last week for discussion after Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner received a request from someone to allow people to let their sump pumps discharge into the City sewer system.

    While the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency discourages the activity, Public Works Director Pat Kelly explained, there’s no state statute prohibiting municipalities from making their own call on the issue. Some cities do allow waivers during the winter months, when flows through the sewer system are typically much lower than during the warmer months, he added, noting he had no real issue if the council decided to allow a winter waiver, too.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson, whose constituents live on the north end of town, noted that sump pumps at several properties in his ward discharge water essentially 12 months a year because of the high water table.

    The council committee voted unanimously in favor of making the change.

    The action will require a modification to a City ordinance, which means it will involve a first reading and a second reading and a process that will take at least a month to complete. It’s possible the first reading of the modified ordinance will be on the agenda when the council next meets on Sept. 14.