Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Remove Images

Bay seeks solution to broken sewage pipe

by Chris Schultz

August 22, 2013

WILLIAMS BAY — No further sewage spills into Geneva Lake have been reported from a broken sewerage connection to two small lakeside cottages on Walworth Avenue.

Owners of the two properties have been ordered by the village not to use the bathrooms in either of the cottages, said Jerry Anderson, Williams Bay village inspector.

But it’s still uncertain how the situation will be cleared up.

In a telephone interview on Monday, Anderson told the Regional News that he’s been in contact with the county and the state DNR about the situation as well. He said he’s waiting for both the county and state to return his calls.

Last week, Anderson did not have an immediate answer as to whether having two bathrooms connected to the same PVC pipe that was acting as a lateral to the sewer main conformed to code.

What he did say was that if the two cottages are hooked up to the village water main and the septic main on their property, they are allowed to have bathrooms in the boat house.

In a face-to-face talk with a reporter, Anderson indicated that having the two cottages, which are on separate properties, share the same connection to the sewerage system does not appear to be up to code.

That arrangement seems to be a pre-existing condition that may have been granted to the two properties in the past, he said.

While a member of the Kramer family of Yorkville, Ill., which owns the property at 11 Walworth Ave., has been in contact with the village, Anderson said on Monday he’s still not heard from the Sheehan family of St. Charles, Ill., which owns the property at 15 Walworth Ave.

Last week, Anderson and Jerry Mehring, village public works director, inspected the broken sewerage connection between the two properties.

The village was alerted to the situation June 26 by Ted Peters of the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency.

Peters said he got a call that morning 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.

According to Peters’ description, the two small cottages appear to be converted boathouses. Both are about 10 feet from the lake’s water line.

He said the two structures have bathrooms. PVC pipes connected each of the cottages to a grinder pump. The two grinder pumps are connected to each other.

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

Both pumps were installed in pits.

Peters said it appeared the grinder pump connected to the cottage on the north side was acting as the connection for both cottages to a nearby sewerage line.

Anderson confirmed on Monday that such was the case.

Williams Bay’s sewerage is connected to the Walcomet sewage treatment plant.

In late June, flood waters surrounded the two cottages and lifted the grinder pump to the south out of its pit, separating the PVC piping at a joint.

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 has said he went to the properties the day after Peters and saw the severed connection, but he neither saw nor smelled any sewage.

According to a spokesperson for the Kramers, that family has not been to Geneva Lake this summer because a member of the family suffered a heart attack and has been in the hospital, Anderson said.

Peters said Anderson has promised to keep the GLEA informed on further developments involving the broken sewage pipe.