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Protecting your home (and wallet) from excessive rain events

Updated: 06/03/2019

We all would concur that this spring has been abnormally cool and wet.  It seems the ducks are even looking for higher ground these days. Rainfall has surpassed the seasonal average by several inches. With high ground water levels, homeowners’ sump pumps are likely working overtime. 

Did you know that it is illegal to discharge your sump pump into the sanitary sewer system? Discharging clean water to the sanitary sewer system creates undo pressures on the system and can have unwelcomed consequences, including sewer backups and increased sewer fees.

The city has two separate sewer systems, a sanitary sewer system and a storm drainage system.  These systems are separate for a reason. Groundwater and surface water require less – and a different type of – treatment before eventually reaching our waterways. On the other hand, sanitary flows from your home or business fixtures and appliances and requires a higher degree of processing before the water is safe to discharge back into the ecosystem.

The City of Shakopee is part of the regional sanitary sewer service owned and operated Met Council Environmental Services (MCES). Their system treats every gallon of sewage that passes through the sanitary sewer system, even if it’s clean ground or surface water. MCES passes their processing costs onto the city based on our proportionate share of flow into the system. The city in turn recoups those costs from its residents and businesses through a charge on your monthly utility bill. Shakopee residents and businesses can ensure they are only paying for necessary treatment services by preventing clean water from reaching the sanitary sewer system.

Also, if sump pumps are discharging to the sanitary sewer during large rainfall events, it substantially increases the possibility of a sewer backup within your property. The sanitary sewer system was built to handle specific capacity limits based on the number of users. If an abundance of clean water enters the system at a rapid pace, the likelihood of a sanitary sewer backup somewhere in the system is an unfortunate possibility.

Graphic showing how allowing clear water in the wastewater system costs homeowners

To minimize the risk of a sewer backup and ensure continued affordable utility rates, all groundwater and surface water should be discharged to your ground outside your home and business or to the city’s storm drainage system.

If you do ever experience a sewer backup, please immediately contact the city’s public works department at 952-233-9550 (Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) or the Scott County Dispatch at 952-445-1411 after business hours. 

For more information on the city’s sanitary sewer system and storm drainage systems. MCES also has a variety of short video clips and easy to understand brochures on protecting your property from sewer backups and preventing clean water from entering the wastewater system https://metrocouncil.org/Wastewater-Water/Planning/Wastewater/Inflow-and-Infiltration/Property-Owners.aspx.