For several weeks, the Alliance has been watching an issue that will impact Lexington’s efforts to fix its sewer and water quality problems.
The Environmental Quality Committee of Council is recommending the approval of an ordinance, that will allow LFUCG inspectors to enter private property to fix illegal stormwater connections into our sewer system. To learn more about the proposal, click here.
In an ideal world, our stormwater and sanitary sewer systems should be completely separate. If water goes down the toilet or sink, it goes to the sewer treatment plant. If it rains, it goes into to stormwater collection system that drains into our creeks and the KY river.
However, over decades, many in the community have connected sump-pumps and other devices to our sewer system to manage stormwater/flooding problems. Therefore, everytime it rains, the sewer system becomes inundated with rain water and man-hole covers blow-off, exposing the public to hazardous raw sewage spills and other perils.
In an effort to fix this problem–as required by our $500 million Consent Decree agreement with the EPA–Lexington must repair these illicit private property sewer/stormwater connections. Property owners will be reimbursed for these repairs, up to $3,500. The average repair will cost $2,000. The sanitary sewer user fee fund will finance the initiative.
Repairing our public sewer and storm water system is important—but it can only go so far. Without access to the private system and incentives to fix the problem, the source of many of our water quality issues will remain untouched and undermine our best efforts to mitigate Lexington’s flooding, public health, and pollution problems. The longer it takes to clean up the mess, the more it will cost us in the future.
For these reasons, The Fayette Alliance supports the proposed Sanitary Sewer Private Property Inspection program. On Tuesday, January 10th, the Council unanimously approved the proposed program. We’ll keep you updated here at fayettealliance.com.
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