On Wednesday, city officials, including Mayor Pete Buttigieg and project coordinator Kieran Fahey, held a demonstration to raise awareness of the program, which expires at the end of 2017.
Standing outside a home on East Jefferson Boulevard, Buttigieg assisted as Fahey removed a downspout from an underground sewer drain, capped the drain and rerouted the downspout into the yard. The whole thing took about a minute.
“There’s not much to it, but it’s very important,” Buttigieg said. “This is (residents’) chance to have this done free of charge.”
According to Fahey, about 10 percent of all homes and businesses in the city funnel stormwater into the sewer system, contributing to the flow of raw sewage into the river during periods of heavy rain.
This presents a problem for the city, which is in the middle of an EPA-mandated $861 million sewer project that is intended to reduce the flow of raw sewage into the river by 95 percent by 2030.
“That’s creating a load that we need to get rid of,” Buttigieg said.
The free program runs through the end of next year, after which property owners face a deadline of Jan. 1, 2019, to disconnect any illegal downspouts themselves.
To schedule a free disconnection, call 311, the city’s customer service line, anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit http://bit.ly/sb-public-works-forms.
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