Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Did raw sewage enter Geneva Lake?
Officials investigating severed sewer connection

by Chris Schultz

August 08, 2013

WILLIAMS BAY — Village officials earlier this week inspected what appears to be a severed sewerage connection between two cottages located on lakeside property on Walworth Street.

The severed connection may have already resulted in a small spill of raw sewage into the lake.

Village Building Inspector Jerry Anderson said he and Village Public Works Director Jerry Mehring were scheduled to be on the properties Monday to inspect the sanitary connections and determine whether the connections are legal. He said the cottages are located on 11 and 15 Walworth Ave.

The village was alerted to the situation by Ted Peters of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency.

Peters said he got a call the morning of June 26 from the owner of a neighboring lakeside property who complained that raw sewage was flowing into Geneva Lake from a broken connection.

Peters said he went to the property the same day. Although he didn't see sewage at the site, Peters said he could smell it.

The two small cottages appear to be converted boathouses, Peters said. Both are about 10 feet from the lake's water line.

Peters said it also appears that both of the cottages have bathrooms. PVC pipes connected each of the cottages to two grinder pumps. The two grinder pumps are also connected to each other.

A grinder pump chops up material so it can be pumped more easily, Peters said.

Both pumps had been installed in pits. The grinder pump connected to the cottage on the north side was apparently acting as the connection for both cottages to a nearby sewer line, Peters said.

Flood waters surrounding the two cottages had lifted the grinder pump to the south out of its pit, separating the PVC piping at a joint, he said. Anything in the severed pipe would have flowed onto a drainage tile below the pipe and would have gone into the lake, Peters said.

Anderson said he went to the properties the day after Peters and saw the severed connection, but he neither saw nor smelled any sewage. The building inspector said he's been trying to reach the cottages's owners.

One family, the Kramers, 11 Walworth Ave., of Yorkville, Ill., replied to Anderson's emails.

A family spokesperson said the Kramers haven't been to Geneva Lake this summer because a member of the family suffered a heart attack and has been in the hospital. The other family, the Sheehans, 15 Walworth Ave., of St. Charles, Ill., have not responded to the village's emails, Anderson said.