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Golden Valley Revises I/I Inspection Requirements

Followup from a previous posting. 

I participated with many other Realtors and staff from our local boards in several meetings with Golden Valley staff on our concerns with their I/I inspection program.  While the conversations were not always the most polite, we did find a way to come to an understanding that I think makes it a lot easier for home sellers to sell their homes but also meets the city’s need for reduction in inflow and infiltration of clear water into the sanitary sewer system.  Read below for the press release: 

News Release
May 24, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jeannine Clancy, Director of Public Works, 763-593-8035

City of Golden Valley Changes Point of Sale  Inflow and Infiltration Inspection Ordinance

At its May 15, 2007 meeting, the Golden Valley City Council changed the city code regarding Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) into the sanitary sewer system to make it easier for citizens to comply with the ordinance. The changes specifically deal with the Point of Sale portion of the ordinance, which requires all properties to have a sanitary sewer inspection before they are advertised for sale.

The ordinance is intended to help reduce peak sanitary sewer flows caused by I/I, or flow of clear water into the sanitary sewer system. It allows the City to inspect private properties to ensure there are no illegal connections to the sanitary sewer system or other problems that contribute to excess peak flow discharges. Examples of illegal connections include sump pumps, roof gutters, or foundation drains connected to the sanitary sewer. Examples of infiltration problems include root intrusion and cracks in private sewer pipes that allow groundwater to seep into the sanitary sewer.

Changes to I/I Point of Sale Ordinance

The original I/I ordinance took effect January 1, 2007. When property owners and realtors raised concerns about its impact on timeframe and cash flow issues during the sale of a property, the City Council responded by making changes aimed at easing both concerns. While the changes took effect May 23, 2007, all Certificates of Compliance and Temporary Certificates of Compliance previously issued by the City are still effective.

I/I Point of Sale Inspection—Properties must have a sanitary sewer inspection before they are offered for sale. If the property passes inspection, the property owner will get a Certificate of I/I Compliance. If illegal connections or infiltration problems are found, the property owner will get a Correction Notice listing the items that need to be corrected for I/I compliance.

The City will also provide property owners with a copy of the sewer inspection report, which details all problems found. Only problems that contribute to I/I must be fixed before a Certificate of Compliance is issued. Other sewer problems noted on the inspection form are for the property owner’s information (property owners are responsible for maintaining the section of the sewer system from their building to the connection at the sewer main).

Correction Notice—Property owners who receive Correction Notices will now have to enter into a “fix-it” agreement with the City and make corrections within 60 days of the transfer of property. At the time of closing, they will also have to post security with the closing agent in the amount of 125 percent of the cost of the correction for any correction not already completed.

Failure to obtain a Certificate of I/I Compliance is a misdemeanor and may result in additional monthly charges on the customer’s utility bill ($500 residential, $1,000 non-residential) and possible disconnection of water service.

Responsibility—Property owners and their realtors are responsible for informing potential buyers about any pending correction notices. Problems not corrected are also the responsibility of the current owner and a matter for civil court.

I/I Inspection Program

The City began I/I inspections in fall 2006, and Golden Valley property owners can expect ongoing inspections and other efforts to control I/I for many years to come. Over the next several years, the City will inspect homes and businesses in Golden Valley to determine if sump pumps, foundation drains, roof drains, and other clear water sources are connected to the sanitary sewer system. All properties will be inspected and required to be in compliance before they can be sold.

All inspections will be pre-scheduled, will be performed by trained inspectors wearing photo ID badges, and should take approximately an hour for residential property. If properties comply with the City ordinance, owners will get a Certificate of Compliance and a copy will be filed with the City. If inspectors find property owners discharging clear water into the sanitary sewer, they will issue a Correction Notice.

The City will also conduct I/I inspections as part of its annual Pavement Management Program (PMP). For example, properties in the 2007 PMP area were inspected in 2006, and properties in the 2008 PMP area will be inspected in 2007.

The fee for the initial Point of Sale inspection, which includes a televised observation of the sanitary sewer service, is $200 for residential properties and $500 for non-residential properties. Subsequent inspections of a sump pump discharge are $75.

To schedule an I/I Inspection, or if you have questions about I/I, the municipal utility code, or the I/I inspection program, contact Golden Valley Public Works at 763-593-8030.

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