City forcing sewer line where it's not needed

The city claims that during the drought of the early 1990s, water tables fell and nitrates in domestic wells went up in the Carson City area. The city also claims this mandated the state to have them lower the nitrates in Carson City by providing a sewer system in place of already-approved septic systems in Southeast Carson City.

My residence on Ponderosa Drive is one of the properties affected. Even though I have a nearly new shallow septic system approved by, permitted by, and even designed by the Carson City Health Department, as to not contaminate any domestic wells, the city is trying to force me to connect to the sewer by issuing a citation violating a Carson City municipal code written five years after my septic system was installed. Although this all may be well and good for ground water, the reasons I have not connected are as follows:

It is a matter of public record that the utilities director said the city would be in compliance with the state regulations if they achieved 75 percent hook-ups. They are now at 99-plus percent hookups. The utilities director also said, and the municipal code clearly reads, that if you do not have enough slope or fall therefore requiring you to pump the sewer main, then you are exempt from connecting until such time as your septic system fails. This exception was written as to not force any undue hardship on homeowners in a low-flow situation because pumping would be quite expensive.

I have estimates of over $10,000 to make this connection and abandon the septic system in addition to the excessive $3,000 city-imposed connection fees. My house connection is over 350 feet from the new sewer main and the main was not set deep enough by the city into the street to obtain a minimum 2 percent slope to my house. I have engineering to substantiate that fact. Carson City Building Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, engineering and contractor's standards all over the world dictate that 2 percent is the minimum slope for sewage especially on runs of more than 200 feet. The reason for this is obvious. If you flush an economy toilet into a 350 foot lateral at a slope between 1 and 2 percent, a sticky solid won't obey the law of gravity.

Technician Leanna Stevens and her engineer at the Carson City Utilities Department admit they don't have a 2 percent slope but that because they are the administrative authority and they have approval from the Carson City public building official, they will force me into a less than 2 percent minimum substandard connection. She also said she has connections like this all over town. I wonder if Carson City residents are comfortable with the city's willingness to have sewage barely flowing for long distances with the potential to easily back up into their homes.

This is an outrage. An exception to a minimum should not exist in the first place and only be used in rare instances where no other alternatives exist and both parties want the connection. It should not be used to take the homeowner from a perfectly good working system (the septic) and force them into a substandard connection causing costly maintenance problems and possible health hazards for years to come. Why would the city relax the building code instead of upholding it?

Why do homeowners have to keep paying big money and put up with the city's ineptness? If the city wants the connection this badly, then they can pay for it and maintain it as well. I have lived in Carson City all of my life, but it is because of continued harassment such as this from my "public servants" in which my tax dollars pay their salary that I intend to leave, the sooner the better.


Carson City


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