Sanitary Sewer Design
Making Public Sewers Available For Your Neighborhood's Environmental Health
Sanitary sewers are available to approximately 94% of the existing developments in the City of Springfield. While the remaining 6% of the City is currently without public sewers, City Council adopted the following priority in 1994: "Complete sanitary sewer system to cover 100% of City." Council adopted this important environmental priority, in part, because septic systems, even when properly designed, constructed, and maintained, have proven to be an unacceptable means of sewage disposal for urban density developments. Seepage from septic systems presents health hazards through contamination of our drinking water, and leach fields can and do pollute our ground water.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the advantages of public sewers?
Public sewers are recommended and often required by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for the collection and transport of wastewater to a permitted treatment facility. This is especially important for urban density developments because public sewers greatly reduce the potential for health hazards and contamination of our ground water supply.
Septic systems, at best, are temporary substitutes for public sewers. The geology of the Ozarks is generally considered unacceptable for individual treatment systems. Because of our karst topography, septic systems can and do fail often without our knowledge. Unfortunately, our karst topography also can often provide a direct connection from septic system leach fields to our ground water. To minimize this impact to our ground water, both the City of Springfield and Greene County have adopted regulations that require a minimum size tract of three (3) acres for individual treatment systems.
- How do you initiate the construction of public sewers?
Requests for public sewers are typically initiated by a property owner or owners from a neighborhood with concerns about the working order of their septic systems. This typically occurs when septic systems are showing signs of failing (surfacing sewage) or are not working properly. Failing septic systems can cause health hazards, not only to the property owner but also to the entire neighborhood. Requests for public sewers are referred to the City Council as required by the City Charter.
- What actions are taken for sewer districts?
The City Charter requires City Council to act on a district sewer at least four times from the time it is initiated through completion. The various actions are:
- Establish district or joint district boundaries
- Resolution of Necessity
- Acceptance of the lowest responsible bid
- Authorize the issuance of tax bills
- Where are the sewer lines located?
Some of the sewer lines are built within the street parkway and some are built within easements. If shrubs, trees, flowers, etc. are within the road right-of-way or sewer easement area, it is the property owners' responsibility to relocate them if they want to preserve or transplant them to another location.
- Who is responsible for the construction clean up?
The contractor is responsible for all clean up, reseeding of the disturbed areas, and for returning the parkways and easements to as near as practical to the original condition.
- What determines the cost per property for public sewers?
The Property Owner Cost is equal to the District Cost divided by the District Square Footage, multiplied by the Property Owner Square Footage.
Property Owner Cost = (District Cost / District Square Footage) * Property Owner Square Footage
In 1999 City Council implemented an assistance program to cap the property owners' costs for constructing the public sewers at $8,300 (which includes a $300 facility charge) per single family residential tract for all those opting to use the assistance program. No matter what size individual tract you own or what extra ordinary costs may be involved in your sewer district, this assistance program can be used to cap your tax bill at a maximum of $8,300. This does not include the cost to connect your home/business to the public sewer.
- How do I pay my sewer tax bill?
After completion of the sewer district, a tax bill will be issued to cover the cost of the sewer project. At that time each property owner will be sent a letter stating the exact amount of their tax bill. You have two options to pay for your sewer tax bill.
- The first option is to pay the tax bill in full within 30 days of the issuance of the tax bill with no interest being charged.
- The second option is to take advantage of the City's installment plan. With this plan your payments are spread out over a 15-year period, with the first payment being due one year after the issuance of the tax bill. One-fifteenth of the assessment, along with the interest on the unpaid balance, is due annually. On the annual payment date, additional payments can be made to the principal balance. At any time during the 15-year period the balance can be paid in full. This payoff would also include the interest to the payoff date (very similar to a home loan). Tax bill interest rates are generally less than most home loans.
Springfield also has a sanitary sewer lateral loan program to assist in the cost of connecting houses/businesses to the sewer system. The cost to connect the building service to the public sewer is a separate cost to the property owner. The lateral loan program allows for loans up to $1,500 to be repaid over 120 months at an interest rate of 6% per annum.
Financial assistance is also available from Community Development Funds for applicants meeting income guidelines for both the Sewer District Tax Bills and the building lateral connection. This program can help with up to 100% of these costs. Call Marti Fewell at 864-1039 for information on this program.
- How is my monthly sewer bill calculated?
The monthly sewer charge for residential service is calculated by adding the base charge of $7.82/month to your monthly flow charge of $0.85 per 100 cubic feet based upon the average water usage for the months of January, February, and March. The average residential sewer charge is approximately $13 per month. This monthly sewer use charge is collected to fund the maintenance and operation costs of the system.