Septic problems continue to plague two
residents on Campus View Drive. Kevin Bateman and Mike Robbins have
approached the council many times in years past but have come this
time with a request that the city pay once only to move their septic
fields. They say that septic experts have said it will solve their
problem at much less cost than the extensive flood control measures
the city could do. [See previous report at
The biggest questions at the end of
discussion last week were whether the city could pay for a septic
system change on private property with public funds, and if the city
did it for these families, how many others might ask for the same
benefit. There are other areas incorporated into city limits that do
not receive sewer hookup.
Bateman's and Robbins' septic systems
don't work when it rains. Bateman said that his yard floods with 2
feet of water when it rains of three-fourths of an inch. When that
happens their septic systems back up into their homes.
Although the city-owned portion of
Campus View ends at the curve and their homes are at the end of the
block, it is believed that the flooding in their back yards is
contributed to by city-owned streets.
Previous research into the problem
ended when street drainage and flood control estimates for the area
proved too extensive and cost-prohibitive.
Several years ago the residents were
told that if funding could be secured, the city would run sewer to
the area. The funding did not come through.
Grant Eaton from Environment Management
Corporation, which manages the city sewer system, went out to
reassess the area. He said he thought that the pine trees lining the
Robbins property probably have clogged his laterals with roots and
that contributes to the problem.
He also pointed out that septic systems
have a limited life span of 10-20 years at the most. The systems for
the homes in question have been in place an estimated 30 years.
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Eaton has contacted the health
department to inquire about the possibility of running a drainage
pipe from the yard to the field next to it, which is owned by
Lincoln Christian College.
This can be done if the college signs
an easement agreement that protects the placement of the pipe in
case of the college selling the property.
Another expert from the field spoke to
the council to present one other option, much less costly, that the
city could consider in place of running sewer to this and other
similar sites. Doug Ebelherr, who is retired from the Illinois
Department of Public Health, managed their on-site wastewater
program for the entire state.
Ebelherr said that the national trend
is for small communities to put in cluster systems that serve small
groups of homes. The systems are then managed by the city.
In a situation like the Campus View,
homes would have septic tanks that are gravity-flowed to a
collection line leading to a community system, such as for 10 homes
or so in this case. If a property or area were too low, an effluent
pump would be used to move the fluid portion. A common drain field
of three-fourths to one acre is needed and that is managed by the
city. Solids remain in the septic tanks. This system typically costs
about $150,000 to install.
This would enable the city to address
the problem and eliminate the problem of addressing an individual
property. The city could charge a sewer tax to help offset the costs
of installation and management.
With so much
new information to factor in, the council felt it best to table a
decision and agreed to continue to discuss it in the future.