Waunakee residents will soon receive a notice with their utility bills notifying them of an increase in costs for the treatment of additional stormwater entering the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, some of which is believed to be caused by a few residents’ sump pumps discharging to the sanitary sewer system.
According to the notice to be sent to utilities customers, the cost to treat wastewater was $1,555.98 in the last fiscal year, which represents 69% of the total operating expenses for the utility.
The wastewater treatment costs have increased by over $400,000, or 36 percent, since 2014, the notice states.
According to Waunakee Utilities Manager Tim Herlitzka, the utility has seen an increasing gap over the past several years between the number of wastewater gallons Waunakee Utilities bills the customers and the number gallons it is billed for from sewerage district.
“Because of how our rates are established, these extra wastewater costs are then passed on to all customers in the form of higher rates,” Herlitzka said in an email to the Tribune.
Herliizka said the increase in precipitation appears to be playing a role in the additional ground and rain water entering the system.
“Additionally, we also understand that certain customers have their sump pumps discharging to the sanitary sewer system,” Herlitzka added.
Doing so is a violation of village code.
The flyer from Waunakee Utilities is intended to encourage customers to work cooperatively in eliminating sump pumps from the system,’ he said.
He noted that utility staff inspect homes and businesses for these illegal connections when they inspect or change out meters
If any sump pump connections are found discharging directly to the sanitary sewer, Waunakee Utilities will give those customers 60 days to correct it or face enforcement actions or possibly fines, according to the notice going out to customers.
Waunakee Utilities plans to increase the amount of inspections on sanitary sewer mains to correct any problems that need to be fixed.
Anyone with questions about their sump pump connections is asked to call Waunakee Utilities at (608) 849-8111.