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Illegal sump pump dischargers in Carstairs could be fined

Town of Carstairs trying to address stormwater infiltration to the sanitary system

CARSTAIRS - Council has approved an update to an existing bylaw to prevent sump pump discharge from going into the town’s sanitation system.

The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

“It’s one of the ways we are addressing stormwater infiltration to our sanitary system,” chief administrative officer Rick Blair told the Albertan. “Most older towns, or towns that have an older core anyway, had their sump pumps attached to their sanitary systems, so all of the water that is coming up as ground water is going into the sanitary system.

“That’s not where you want it going; you want it going into the overland storm system, which is what we want to make sure is happening. We’ve made the amendments to the bylaw to hopefully educate people as to what is going on with their sump pumps and the effects it is having on our sanitary system.”

Bylaw No. 977 – now referred to as the Illegal Discharge of Sump Pumps Bylaw – states “no person shall directly connect or allow direct connection of downspouts, eavestroughing, piping or other means of directing roof drainage to a foundation drain or weeping tile.”

As well, “no person shall permit sump pump discharge hoses to drain directly onto neighbouring properties, lands or streets, onto sidewalks, onto boulevards, ditches, or into the floor drain of the property owner. The property owner shall ensure that the discharge of their sump pump hose end remains a minimum of five feet away from their property line.”

Failure to comply with the bylaw can result in fines of $250 for first offence, $350 for second offence, and $500 for third offences.

Under the bylaw the Town of Carstairs could issue a written notice or orders as are necessary to inform the owner where a contravention of the bylaw has been observed.

“The Town of Carstairs may enter buildings or other places connected to the Town of Carstairs sanitary sewer system on reasonable notice and at reasonable times to determine whether or not any storm or surface water is being discharged into the sanitary sewer system.

“And the Town of Carstairs shall have the power to use any test or other means necessary to determine compliance with this bylaw and to stop or prevent the discharge of storm or surface water.”

Under the bylaw, the property owner may drain the sump pump away from the home, onto a grassy areas or permeable surface that way the water is absorbed. 

“Water from the sump pump may be used to water grass, trees and shrubs found on property.”

In other news from the recent council meeting, council has approved a town donation to Hugh Sutherland grant bursaries program. The move came after council received a letter from the school’s vice principal.

“The Hugh Sutherland School’s cap and gown ceremony will be held June 23,” said Tyler Jesse. “You (Town of Carstairs) have been a generous supporter of our cap and gown ceremony in the past through bursaries, scholarships and awards. You support of our community’s students is greatly appreciated and vital in recognizing their achievement.”

Council approved a bursary donation of $900.

Council also carried a motion to have the town provide the fireworks display on Friday, July 14 as part of Beef & Barley Days.

All members of council attended the Feb. 27 council meeting.