Bourbonnais investigating sewer flow spike

May 9, 2019

BOURBONNAIS — Bourbonnais will investigate what has caused a spike in its daily sewer flow.

The village board on Monday approved a $53,200 contract with Robinson Engineering, of Frankfort, to monitor sewer flow at 11 locations in the village for 60 days.

Finance director Mike Wolf said the village has averaged an extra 1 million gallons of sewer flow since this past Thanksgiving at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency’s wastewater treatment facility.

The village had averaged about 1.5 million gallons on dry days and about 2.5 million gallons on wet days. Since Thanksgiving, the village has consistently surpassed 3.5 million gallons per day.

KRMA charges its coalition of villages and cities a per use rate. That means Bourbonnais residents could end up paying more because of the spike in sewer flow.

Mayor Paul Schore suspects the flow increase could be caused by residents illegally tapping into the wastewater system.

“It’s an ongoing issue with people with sump pumps,” Schore told the Daily Journal after Monday’s village board meeting. “Some don’t realize they are tapping into our system. Others know perfectly well that they are.”

The village’s newer subdivisions have a separate connection to its storm water system. However, the older subdivisions allow residents to choose between the storm water and wastewater systems.

“Some people don’t want water in their yard, so they put it through the sanitary system,” Schore said. “That costs everybody hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in our sewer bill at KRMA.”

Outside of sewer bills, Schore said the increased flow is occupying the capacity the village has set aside for future growth at Bourbonnais Parkway.

It also has caused sewage problems for some homeowners.

“It is filling up some mains where some people down the line have backup issues,” Schore said. “So, they are moving their problem from their sump pump to their neighbor’s basement. That’s not how it should be.”

The village’s public works department will provide free inspections and fixes for people who might be illegally tapped into the wastewater system. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 815-937-0817.

However, those who are caught without the public works department’s oversight could face a fine of $250 per day for illegally tapping into the wastewater system.

“We don’t want to fine you. We will help you solve that situation,” Schore said. “But if you keep avoiding it, we are going to fine you. And we will fine you. And we will fine you.”