Sewer Service Repair Guidelines

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Purpose

The purpose of this guidance is to clarify City procedures for sanitary sewer service repairs, City cost participation, and the use of voluntary special assessments to pay the cost of service repairs. These procedures comply with State statutes and City policy governing contracting and special assessments and are intended to ensure that public and private funds are spent in a fiscally responsible manner.

Definitions

For the purpose of these guidelines and procedures, the following definitions apply:

Building sewer: Privately-owned sewer pipe that connects the building to the City sewer main. The building sewer crosses private property and City right-of-way and/or easements.

City sewer main: Publically-owned sewer pipe located entirely within City right-of-way or easements that typically serves multiple buildings.

Contractor: A contractor with a construction performance bond on record with the City allowing the contractor to perform work within City right-of-way and easements. Contractors performing work on private property must hold a Minnesota plumbing license.

Easement: Private property upon which a right has been granted for a specific public use (e.g. placement of a sanitary sewer).

Emergency: Situations that will result in property damage or unhealthy conditions if not resolved in a timely manner. For example, sewer backup, a completely non-functioning sewer, and sewer odor.

Right-of-way: Property dedicated for public use, typically through the platting process. For example, the area on, below, or above a public street, sidewalk, or boulevard.

Wye: The point of connection between the building sewer and the City sewer main.

You: The property owner.

Maintenance Responsibility

Per City Code, you are responsible for maintenance of the building sewer. The City is responsible for maintenance of the City sewer main. Costs to repair to the wye are shared equally.

If you experience sanitary sewer problems, you must:

  • Contact the Wastewater Division. For emergency situations (see definition above) use the 24-hour phone number. Non-emergency situations should be reported during regular business hours by phone or by e-mail.
  • City staff will inspect the City sewer main.
    • If the problem is in the City sewer main, City staff will correct the problem at no cost to you.
  • The City cannot reimburse you for contractor expenses incurred before contacting the City.
  • If a problem in the City sewer main resulted in damage to your property, you should contact the Wastewater Division for direction in filing a claim with the City’s insurance provider. An adjuster will review the claim to determine liability.
    • City staff will advise you that the problem is in the building sewer if the City main is functioning properly.
  • If the problem is in the building sewer and repairs are needed, one of the four cases below may apply.


Case 1: No wye repair needed & no special assessment

Description:

  • Building sewer repair is needed.
  • The project may involve a spot repair or replacement/relining of the entire building sewer.
  • The wye connection does not need repair.
  • You choose to pay the entire cost directly to the contractor and will not petition the City to special assess any portion of the cost.

Procedure:

  • You may proceed with or without quotes and with the contractor of your choice.
  • The contractor must obtain an excavation permit from the Engineering Division before any work in or crossing City right-of-way or an easement is initiated, even if no excavation takes place.


Case 2:  No wye repair, special assessment requested

Description:

  • Building sewer repair is needed.
  • The project may involve a spot repair or replacement/relining of the entire building sewer.
  • The wye connection does not need repair.
  • You choose to petition for all, or a portion, of the cost to be special assessed against your property.

Procedure:

  • You must obtain three quotes for the work.
    • The Engineering Division can provide a list of bonded contractors capable of completing the work.
    • Quotes may include alternate types of repair. For example, an alternate quote for replacement by open-cut excavation may involve no-dig relining or slip-lining.
    • Quotes may include the cost for any work performed outside of the building. The cost for work performed inside the building cannot be included.
  • You must present the quotes to Engineering Division staff.
  • City staff will prepare a petition for special assessments.
    • You may request that all, or a portion, of the cost be special assessed.
    • All property owners of record must sign the petition in the presence of a notary.
  • City staff will review the quotes and approve the lowest quote.
  • After receiving the notarized petition and verifying property ownership, City staff will advise you that you may direct the contractor to proceed to complete the work.
  • The contractor must obtain an excavation permit from the Engineering Division before any work in or crossing City right-of-way or an easement is initiated, even if no excavation takes place.
  • After the work is completed, the contractor will provide invoices as follows:
    • An invoice directly to you for the cost of any work that was not petitioned for special assessment.
    • An invoice to the City for the cost petitioned to be special assessed. This invoice must also identify the total project cost and any portion billed directly to the property owner.
  • Upon receipt of the invoice, the City will make payment to the contractor. Checks will be mailed within the 45 days allowed by State statute to verify and pay invoices.
  • The City Council will adopt the special assessment at an assessment hearing (typically held annually in the Fall of the year).
    • The cost for the work paid by the City plus a 5% administration fee will be special assessed.
    • Following the hearing, special assessments will be certified to the County and applied to the property owner’s tax statement in the year following adoption of the assessment.
    • Special assessments are collected over a 25-year period at an interest rate determined by the Council.


Case 3:  Wye repair needed & no special assessment requested

Description:

  • Building sewer repair is needed.
  • The project may involve a spot repair or replacement/relining of entire building sewer.
  • The wye connection needs repair.
  • You choose to pay the entire cost to repair the building sewer plus one-half of the cost of the wye repair directly to the contractor and will not petition the City to special assess any portion of the cost.

Procedure:

  • The contractor notifies you that the wye connection may be damaged.
  • You, or the contractor, must contact the Wastewater Division.
  • Wastewater Division staff will meet with you and/or the contractor to review the contractor’s findings.
  • You must obtain three quotes for the work.
    • The Engineering Division can provide a list of bonded contractors capable of completing the work.
    • The portion of the work involving repair to the wye can only be performed by open-cut excavation. No-dig relining and slip-lining are not acceptable methods for wye repair.
    • Quotes may include alternate types of work for any repair to the building sewer excluding the wye. For example, an alternate quote for replacement by open-cut excavation may involve no-dig relining or slip-lining.
    • Quotes may include the cost for any work performed outside of the building. The cost for work performed inside the building cannot be included.
    • Quotes must accurately and separately identify:
  • the cost for that portion of the work to repair the building sewer, and
  • the cost to repair the wye (including all necessary excavation, pavement repair, etc.).
  • You must present the quotes to Wastewater Division staff.
  • City staff will review the quotes and approve the lowest quote.
    • If the contractor that initially identified the problem is not the low bid contractor, and the wye is determined to need repair, the City will pay one-half of the cost of services provided by the original contractor. The original contractor must provide an invoice directly to the property owner for one-half of the cost and a second invoice to the City identifying the total cost and one-half of the cost due from the City.
  • City staff will advise you that you may direct the contractor to proceed to complete the work.
  • The contractor must obtain an excavation permit from the Engineering Division before any work in or crossing City right-of-way or an easement is initiated, even if no excavation takes place.
  • The contractor must provide Wastewater Division staff advance notice of at least four hours prior to excavating the wye. This notice must be provided during regular business hours.
  • Wastewater Division staff must observe excavation of the wye and verify that repairs to the wye are needed. Final excavation around the wye must be performed by hand to ensure that the wye is not damaged by excavation equipment.
  • After the work is completed, the contractor will provide invoices as follows:
    • An invoice directly to you for the cost of all work performed excluding one-half of the cost of the wye repair.
    • An invoice to the City for one-half of the cost to repair the wye. This invoice must also identify the total project cost and the portion billed directly to you.
  • Upon receipt of the invoice, the City will make payment to the contractor. Checks will be mailed within the 45 days allowed by State statute to verify and pay invoices.


Case 4:  Wye repair needed, special assessment requested

Description:

  • Building sewer repair is needed.
  • The project may involve a spot repair or replacement/relining of the entire building sewer.
  • The wye connection needs repair.
  • You choose to petition for all, or a portion, of the cost to be special assessed against your property.

Procedure:

  • The contractor notifies you that the wye connection may be damaged.
  • You, or the contractor, must contact the Wastewater Division.
  • Wastewater Division staff will meet with you and/or the contractor to review the contractor’s findings.
  • You must obtain three quotes for the work.
    • The Engineering Division can provide a list of bonded contractors capable of completing the work.
    • The portion of the work involving repair to the wye can only be performed by open-cut excavation. No-dig relining and slip-lining are not acceptable methods for wye repair.
    • Quotes may include alternate types of work for any repair to the building sewer excluding the wye. For example, an alternate quote for replacement by open-cut excavation may involve no-dig relining or slip-lining.
    • Quotes may include the cost for any work performed outside of the building. The cost for work performed inside the building cannot be included.
    • Quotes must accurately and separately identify:
  • the cost for that portion of the work to repair the building sewer, and
  • the cost to repair the wye (including all necessary excavation, pavement repair, etc.).
  • You must present the quotes to Engineering Division staff.
  • City staff will prepare a petition for special assessments.
    • You may request that all, or a portion, of the cost be special assessed.
    • All property owners of record must sign the petition in the presence of a notary.
  • City staff will review the quotes and approve the lowest quote.
  • If the contractor that initially identified the problem is not the low bid contractor, and the wye is determined to need repair, the City will pay one-half of the cost of services provided by the original contractor. The original contractor must provide an invoice directly to the property owner for one-half of the cost and a second invoice to the City.
  • After receiving the notarized petition and verifying property ownership, City staff will advise you that you may direct the contractor to proceed to complete the work.
  • The contractor must obtain an excavation permit from the Engineering Division before any work in or crossing City right-of-way or an easement is initiated, even if no excavation takes place.
  • The contractor must provide Wastewater Division staff advance notice of at least four hours prior to excavating the wye. This notice must be provided during regular business hours.
  • Wastewater Division staff must observe excavation of the wye and verify that repairs to the wye are needed. Final excavation around the wye must be performed by hand to ensure that the wye is not damaged by excavation equipment.
  • After the work is completed, the contractor will provide invoices as follows:
    • An invoice directly to you for the cost of work that was not petitioned for special assessment.
    • An invoice to the City for one-half of the cost to repair the wye plus the cost petitioned to be special assessed. The cost to repair the wye must be separately itemized. This invoice must also identify the total project cost and the portion billed directly to you.
  • Upon receipt of the invoice, the City will make payment to the contractor. Checks will be mailed within the 45 days allowed by State statute to verify and pay invoices.
  • The City Council will adopt the special assessment at an assessment hearing (typically held annually in the Fall of the year).
    • The cost for the work paid by the City, excluding one-half of the cost for the wye repair, plus a 5% administration fee will be special assessed.
    • Following the hearing, special assessments will be certified to the County and applied to the property owner’s tax statement in the year following adoption of the assessment.
    • Special assessments are collected over a 25-year period at an interest rate determined by the Council.