Over the past few years, the City of Redwood Falls has experienced a number of major rain events, with high amounts leading to flooding issues and subsequent inundation of water into the sanitary sewer system. That has led to a need to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration that, in some cases, has led to backups and basement flooding.

Earlier this year, the Redwood Falls city council directed city staff to put together a plan that would address the issue, which led to a decision to move forward with the development of an inspection program.

The creation of an ordinance that would include the inspection program was presented to the city council during its Oct. 15 meeting, with Chris Larson of ISG and Jim Doering, city public works project coordinator, presenting the proposals outlined in the ordinance.

Among those proposals in the ordinance is the establishment of an inspection program that would involve going house by house throughout the community to determine if there is a need for repairs to be made in the system that exists in each home.

The proposed ordinance would then require each homeowner to make the needed repairs that were found during the inspections.

The proposal would also allow for a smoke testing process throughout the community to determine the need for any repairs to the below ground water or sewer infrastructure. Larson said the testing would be done throughout the community. When the non-toxic pressurized smoke is sent through the pipes in town areas where damage has occurred will be indicated, as the smoke rises up through the ground. In those cases where damage is determined the ordinance would also require repairs to be done.

According to the proposed ordinance, “the city council of Redwood Falls finds that the discharge of water from any surface, groundwater sump pump, roofs, yards, lawns, streets, alleys, footing title or other natural precipitation into the municipal sanitary sewer system has the potential to cause property damage and overload the municipal and regional sanitary sewer systems.

"Such overloading of the sanitary sewer system may result in sewage flowing into basements and/or residences and businesses, creating hazardous public health conditions and significant damage to properties.

"The city council therefore finds it essential for the maintenance of health, minimization of property damage, and to maintain the life and capacity of the wastewater treatment system that the provisions of this ordinance be strictly enforced.”

Should the ordinance be approved, Doering said the inspection process would take about three years to accomplish, adding those who are scheduled for an inspection each year would be informed and would then be given a period of time to schedule an inspection.

The ordinance also includes penalties for those who are out of compliance, as well as a loan program through the city to help those who need to make repairs.

The ordinance will be considered for adoption by the city council at its Nov. 5 meeting.

To learn more about the proposed ordinance visit the city’s Web site at ci.redwood-falls.mn.us/.