(Replaced by Ordinance No. 185694, effective November 23, 2012.) Sewer system maintenance obligations including inspection, rehabilitation, routine cleaning and repair are based on ownership of the system:
A. Private Systems. A sewer or drainage system that was not constructed by the City, built under a public works permit, or otherwise accepted pursuant to Subsections B.1 or B.2 must be maintained by the parties served by the system, regardless of whether the system is located within a public right-of-way.
1. If any portion of an existing sewer or drainage system extends into a public right-of-way, the property owner must obtain a permit pursuant to Chapter 17.24 before beginning work within the right-of-way.
2. For a sewer or drainage system located in a public right-of-way that is under either private or unclear ownership, the Chief Engineer may grant or deny a permit to repair, upgrade, or replace the system as provided by Section 17.32.130. Such a system may only remain in the public right-of-way at the discretion of the Chief Engineer.
3. Incidental, inadvertent, or emergency City maintenance of private sewer or drainage systems or systems with unclear ownership does not obligate the City to perform future maintenance, imply acceptance of the system, or confer ownership of the system on the City.
B. Public Systems. A sewer or drainage system constructed by the City, constructed under a public works permit, or accepted by the City pursuant to Subsections B.1. or B.2. will be maintained by the City unless otherwise specified by written agreement with the City.
1. Acceptance of Systems with Unclear Ownership. The Chief Engineer may agree to conduct future maintenance of a sewer or drainage systems located in a public right-of-way or City utility easement where the ownership is unclear if, in the judgment of the Chief Engineer, the public will benefit thereby and:
a. The system conveys only domestic sanitary or stormwater flows from residential property; or
b. The system has been specifically modified through City permit or by the City to accept stormwater flows from City rights-of-way or other City-controlled property.
c. Acceptance of a system under this Section does not include or imply acceptance by the City of any maintenance responsibility, cost, liability or damage that arises from conditions or use of the system before acceptance by the City.
2. Adoption of Private Systems in the Public Right-of-Way. The Chief Engineer may agree to take ownership of a private sewer system or drainage improvement in the public right-of-way as provided by administrative rule. At the discretion of the Chief Engineer, a system meeting the following general criteria may be adopted:
a. All the properties connected to the system are participating in the City’s Nonconforming Sewer Conversion Program pursuant to Chapter 17.33;
b. The sewer system conveys only domestic sanitary or stormwater flows from residential property;
c. The owners of all properties connected to the system provide the City with detailed information about the design, location, and condition of the system, and the properties connected to it as specified by administrative rule. Property owners must release rights for use of the line to the City for sewer systems to be adopted;
d. The owners of all the properties connected to the system relinquish all claims to the system; and
e. All branch fees assessed by the City are paid or financed.
3. A system accepted under Subsection B.1 or adopted under Subsection B.2 will be added to the City maintenance roles as of the date of acknowledgment by the Chief Engineer.
4. The City’s responsibility for maintenance of any sewer or drainage system, branch or connection point is subject to the City’s annual budget appropriation and shall be limited to the level of service dictated by the City Council’s discretionary budget decision. The City assumes no responsibility for activities requiring a level of maintenance in excess of the level for which funds have been appropriated.
C. Nuisance Abatement.
1. The Chief Engineer may determine that a sewer or drainage located in a public right-of-way that is under either private or unclear ownership constitutes a public nuisance if it:
a. Impairs or threatens to impair the operation, maintenance or installation of any street or public utility;
b. Is so deteriorated that its flows infiltrate or threaten to infiltrate any public utility or impact or threaten to impact the support structures of any street or public utilities; or
c. Otherwise creates a public health or safety hazard.
2. Summary abatement of the nuisance is authorized when the Chief Engineer determines it is necessary to take immediate action to meet the purposes of this Title.
3. Notice to the responsible party before summary abatement is not required. Following summary abatement, the Chief Engineer shall notify all owners identified in this Chapter or Chapter 25.09 as having maintenance or repair responsibilities. An error in the name of the property owner or address listed in the county assessment and taxation records shall not affect the sufficiency of the notice.
4. The City will bill each property that the City determines caused or contributed to the nuisance to recover the costs of abatement. Civil penalties of up to $500 may be levied for failure to abate a nuisance. If the amount due is not paid in full within 30 days of the date of notice, the City may place a lien against the property.
See Figure 13 for an example visual representation of ownership situations.