Town wants sump pumps switched to summer mode

An excessive amount of groundwater required the town to divert sewage into the Rainy River and relieve stress on its sewage treatment system last week.
And while the 5.6 cm (2.2. inches) of rain that fell in a 12-hour period was to blame, the fact some residents still haven’t switched their sump pumps to “summer mode” exacerbated the problem, Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said Thursday.
As such, the town is taking a hard line with those residents, with bylaw enforcement officers to be doing spot inspections at some homes with sump pumps to check to see if they’ve been switched.
Brown noted the town has a bylaw in place stating residents must have their sump pumps in “summer mode” right now in order to prevent rainwater from being discharged into the sanitary sewer system.
Putting that water into the sanitary sewer system, as opposed to outdoors and into the storm sewer system, increases the burden on the sewage treatment plant, which is still having a hard time handling the current groundwater levels, he remarked.
In one way or another, Brown said, all residents are affected by the fact some people are responsible for putting that extra water into the system.
“If we have any rainfall for an extended period of time this summer, people will see flooded basements,” he warned.
“People should know that this affects the sewer and water rates, too. The less water the town has to treat, the less cost there is,” Brown added.
Referring back to last Thursday, Brown noted the local sewage treatment plant went into bypass mode at 2 a.m., adding the overflow into the Rainy River stopped around 1:20 p.m. that same day.
He stressed that although the sewage was not “treated” (i.e., it did not get processed at the sewage treatment plant), it was subjected to a “chlorine drip” and sterilized in that manner.
The bypass was not in violation of any environmental regulations.