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Sewer System Amendments Approved
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Not the most attention-grabbing business, but necessary, Riverbank Development Services Director J.D. Hightower proposed to have amendments made to the current Riverbank Municipal Code of Ordinances of the Sanitary Sewer Main and Service Laterals at the recent city council meeting.

The point of this amendment is to clarify what the city is responsible for and what the homeowner would be responsible for in regards to the sewer services.

To better understand the issue Hightower explained that the sewer system has a similar relationship as a driveway and the street. The driveway is private property and the street serves multiple properties.

The Sanitary Sewer Main is the responsibility of the City of Riverbank and is an underground pipe that transports from more than one residence, or property to be treated at the City of Riverbank Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Service Laterals are the home or business owner’s responsibility. The sewer pipes lead from a home or business to the sanitary main line.

According to the summary submitted by Hightower, the amendment has been proposed to reduce costs and use staff resources more effectively. He reported that over the past six months, the city has spent over $19,250, primarily in staff time, in lateral maintenance activities.

“Most of the problems that have occurred with laterals are a consequence of an individual choice, that individuals make about what they put down the drain,” said Hightower. “Most of them are fast oils and grease.”

The property owner should be disposing grease and fast oils in a can or bottle and not disposing them down the drain, he said. Pouring grease and fast oils down the drain is an illegal discharge and there is a city ordinance and a state law to not do that.

The amendment was passed by the city council by a 3-0 vote, with Vice Mayor Jeanine Tucker absent from the council meeting.

The new section 51.09 called Service Lateral Private Property will be added to the current Municipal Code and reads:

“A service lateral is a private facility. The property owner shall be responsible for constructing, repairing, and maintaining the entire sewer lateral between the building and the public sewer (including the lateral and building sewers, and the tap, saddle or wye connection fitting at the sanitary sewer main). The City shall not be financially responsible for any sewer lateral construction, operation, maintenance, repair, abandonment, or other cost whatsoever, except where the City itself or its contractor reconstructs or realigns the sanitary sewer main, thereby necessitating the reconnection of sewer laterals to the sanitary sewer main.”