ILLICIT DISCHARGES: Sewer service policy passes

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City’s Common Council passed an amendment to the sewer service ordinance, on first reading, at Tuesday’s meeting.In a change to storm sewer systems, illicit discharges and connections are now prohibited. Drains and other sources into the sewer system from homes, even if they were previously approved by inspection, are now banned. Fines will be $250 per day for non-compliance. Examples of non-compliance could be sump pumps or other devices that allow storm water or other foreign substances into the clean sewer system. Citizens may not even know they have a non-complying system, but the city urged them to not worry.“It is not as though we are going door-to-door and checking,” said Water Pollution Superintendant Mike Cook. “If something is known to us, we will ask them to remove it, and then they will have so many days, and the assessed fine. But we are not going door-to-door.”“Where is the recourse for the homeowner?,” asked Councilman Ben Romine, referring to the fact that a home could have previously passed inspection, and could now receive a fine.Cook said they should consult a contractor to fix drain issues, saying it was not the city’s responsibility.“Anything we do not prohibit is allowed,” said Mayor Ryan Daniel.The first reading of the ordinance passed by a unanimous vote.In department reports, Electric Department Superintendent Larry Whetstone said he is retiring in May. He will be replaced by Shawn Lickey.The next council meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Feb. 14 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.