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					                                   City of Waltham, MA
                              Sump Pump Amnesty Program
                               Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the Sump Pump Amnesty Program?

      The Sump Pump Amnesty Program is to help single family homeowners who have a
      sump pump connected to the sewer system. The Amnesty Program will allow property
      owners to keep their sump pump but disconnect it from the sanitary sewer. The sump
      pump will be re-directed to an on-site infiltration system or a storm drain or swale. Any
      homeowner’s sump pump connected to the sewer system identified after the amnesty
      period and not listed in the Amnesty Program, will be potentially subject to penalties,
      fines, and all costs associated with correcting the sump pump system. Therefore, your
      timely cooperation with this program is imperative.

2. Why is the Sump Pump Amnesty Program important?

      Participation in the Sump Pump Amnesty program will reduce sewer system backups and
      overflows. Parts of the City have been subject to frequent sanitary sewer backups and
      overflows which are a public health risk and harm the surrounding environment. The
      City is working with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
      (MADEP) to improve the sewer system. Sewer backups and overflows lead to higher
      sewer bills and reduced property values. Eliminating these sanitary sewer backups and
      overflows is beneficial to the community and environment.

3. How can sump pumps cause basement flooding?

      Overloading the sewer system from sump pump discharges can lead to sewer backups
      and overflows. The sewer system capacity is for wastewater flows only, and the addition
      of outside water sources can cause the sewer system to backup and/or overflow. When
      the sanitary sewers are overloaded, the water level in the manholes and sewers rise. When
      it rises above the level of your basement floor, the sewers can backup into your basement.
      See the drawing of “Sump Pump Incorrectly Discharging to Sanitary Sewer".

4. Who is paying for the Sump Pump Amnesty Program?

      The City has appropriated funds for this project. MADEP is providing a low interest loan
      to the City for this work. With your willing participation in the amnesty program, the
      City has made it a priority to assist its proactive residents by implementing this Sump
      Pump Amnesty Program, AT NO COST to the single family homeowner, as part of the
      overall program to improve the sewer system.
5. What is the schedule for the Sump Pump Amnesty Program?

       The City is currently undertaking an assessment of the sump pump connections within
       the City of Waltham. A permanent solution for correcting these connections will be
       developed on a cluster or neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, and it is intended that
       construction contracts will be prepared, publicly bid and awarded. The preferred method
       for correcting a sump pump discharge is to an on-site infiltration system as shown in
       “Sump Pump Correctly Discharging to On-site Infiltration Basin (Option A)” or, if this is
       unsuitable, to a storm drain or swale as shown in “Sump Pump Correctly Discharging to
       Storm Drain (Option B)”. Construction will likely be phased over a three year period.

6. How does the Sump Pump Amnesty Program work?

       The City urges all homeowners to call its sump pump amnesty program consultant,
       Environmental Partners Group, Inc., (EPG) at (617-657-0200) or the Waltham
       Engineering Department (781-314-3830) to schedule a free property visit and sump pump
       assessment. Evening appointments are available. You can also email us to schedule a
       home assessment at walthamsumppump@envpartners.com. We will visit your home,
       assess your sump pump system, and if you are connected to the sewer system, discuss
       alternative methods for redirecting your sump pump discharge pipe. After assessments
       are completed and solutions identified on a cluster or neighborhood-by-neighborhood
       basis, it is intended that construction contracts will be prepared, publicly bid and
       awarded. Construction will likely be phased over a three year period. Work to correct
       your sump pump system will be AT NO COST TO YOU and will be completed by a
       professional contractor in accordance with applicable plumbing codes. Construction
       work will be overseen to ensure compliance with the design and the plumbing code.

7. How do I sign up for a free home assessment?

       Contact the sump pump amnesty program consultant, Environmental Partners Group,
       Inc., (EPG) at (617-657-0200) or the Waltham Engineering Department (781-314-3830)
       to schedule a free property visit and sump pump assessment. Evening appointments are
       available.     You can also email us to schedule a home assessment at
       walthamsumppump@envpartners.com.

8. Where should my sump pump discharge to?

       A properly installed sump pump discharges to an on-site infiltration system or to a storm
       drain or swale. See the drawings “Sump Pump Correctly Discharging to On-site
       Infiltration Basin (Option A)” and “Sump Pump Correctly Discharging to Storm Drain
       (Option B)”.
9. What does an incorrect sump pump connection look like?

       See the drawing of “Sump Pump Incorrectly Discharging to Sanitary Sewer". Previous
       home builders, plumbers, or homeowners may have incorrectly connected your sump
       pump discharge pipe to the sewer system. This Amnesty project provides an opportunity
       to fix this for single family homeowners.

10. What is a sanitary sewer?

       Sanitary sewers collect wastewater generated (for example toilets, showers, garbage
       disposals, washing machines) from residences and businesses by a system of manholes,
       pipes, and pumps. Wastewater from Waltham is ultimately discharged into the
       Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) system.

11. What is a storm drain?

       Storm drains collect rainwater and snow melt from streets, sidewalks, yards, and other
       outdoor areas. The storm drain collects the water and usually discharges to a river,
       stream, or pond. Since this water is relatively clean, it requires minimal treatment before
       discharging to it’s final location.

12. Do sump pumps connected to the sewer system really cause a problem?

       Yes. An 8-inch sanitary sewer can accommodate waste flows from up to 200 homes, but
       the inflow from eighteen sump pumps, operating at full capacity, will overload this same
       eight-inch line.

				
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posted:10/16/2011
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