‘Enough with the sump pumps’ - Residents are urged to disconnect sump pumps from public sewage

Jun 26, 2019

Sump pumps illegally connected to the town’s sewer system are costing officials money, said Selectman Patrick Tropeano during the Tuesday selectmen meeting.  Soon people caught breaking the bylaw could face stiff fines.

Tropeano urged residents to disconnect their house sump-pump, most often used to remove groundwater from basements, from the town sewage system.  According to Tropeano, more than 40 percent of the inflow going to the sewage treatment plants during rainstorms comes from sump pumps.

“This is clean water that goes into the system, that we are treating and you are not paying for. That's crazy,” said Tropeano. 

Besides spending unnecessary money to treat clean water, illegal sump-pump connections also make infrastructure improvements much more expensive. According to Tropeano, sump pumps cost the town an extra $70,000 for repairs. 

“When we line the pipe, we are able to stop the flow from the sewer, but are not able to [stop] the water coming from the sump pumps. That water goes in [during the repairs] and ruins the line up, so the construction crew has to start all over to relight that section of the pipe,” explained Tropeano. 

Tropeano warned that the town authorities will use various methods, including “smoking pipes” to find households that refuse to disconnect their sump pumps from the public sewage system.  
“When we catch you, it is going to cost you a lot of money. Take them out in the system, connect them to your driveway, but you have got to get them out of the system. It is costing us a fotine,” said Tropeano.  

The Wareham Use of Public Sewer By-Law states that “no person shall discharge or cause to be discharged any storm water, surface runoff, groundwater, roof runoff, subsurface drainage, uncontaminated cooling water or unpolluted industrial process waters to any sanitary sewer.”

That includes but is not limited to sump pumps and roof leaders. Those with illegal sump pumps may be fined $300 a day up to a $5,000 total fine.