City of Madison Officials Grappling with Sewer Sanitary Emergency

MADISON, S.D.-The city of Madison is urging residents to take the city’s current Sanitary Sewer Emergency seriously. If folks don’t, there could be some negative consequences for homeowners and even the city.

Officials in Madison are relying on residents to limit water usage and make sure sump pump lines are routed to the streets and not into their floor drains. Some of the city’s sewer pipes are so old they have cracks. Water is flooding into those cracks and is getting close to overloading the system.

“We had all that melted snow and all the rain and everything from this last event and it all came through at once and so we had a real short time to try to handle all that water,” said Brad Lawrence, Madison Utilities Director.

City officials worry that within just ten days the system could become full and overflow. If that happens people could see sewage water backing up into their homes through their floor drains.

To avoid that, the city could drain some of the sewage water into a nearby creek. However, not only does that pollute the creek, the city will face a hefty government fine.

“We need their help and we can’t do it without them. I mean if they don’t move their sump pumps out to the street and they don’t help us out, we’re going to run into a situation where it could cost the city you know $100,000 or something. So we need their help. It’s something that’s real and it’s pressing and that’s why we declared the emergency,” said Lawrence.

If the city pumps sewage water into a creek or lake they could get a fine from the EPA, possibly up to $10,000 a day.

City officials say they’ve been working to fix the cracks.

“Now we’re doing things like lining the pipes. We put in a liner. We’ll put in a piece of felt or fiberglass and they pull a mandrill through and they line the sewer to get rid of those cracks,” said Lawrence.

However, it will take some time to do that. For now they ask that everyone comes together to help out the city of Madison. Homeowners need to route sump pump lines to the street, storm sewer or an area that drains well. They should also limit usage of the sewer system until further notice, which means limiting showers and waiting to use the washing machine and dishwasher.

Meanwhile, the city has an upcoming project planned to replace or line about 53 blocks of sewer.


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