Thursday, February 10, 2011

PRECEDENT: Newly enforced sewer violation hits big landowner

COLUMBIA, 2/10/11  (Beat Byte) --  Often criticized for moving at the speed of a tortoise on issues driven by public concern, City of Columbia public works director John Glascock Monday issued a sewer violation against the estate of major Columbia developer and former Stan Kroenke partner Raul Walters, who died in January 2009.  
His company, Raul Walters Properties, owns the site of the violation, Parkway Apartments on McBaine Ave.   
The move may set a new precedent, enforcing a little-noticed city ordinance prohibiting the introduction of stormwater into the sewer system.

It also further confirms sewer system flaws public works maintenance supervisor Bill Weitkemper has urged city leaders to investigate and rectify.  Weitkemper has steadfastly maintained that downspouts and storm drains illegally connected to the sewer system are a major source of so-called "inflow and infiltration," excess water that swamps the sewers, causing them to back up in basements and yards. 

On the Walters property, city-sponsored tests showed that "some down spouts and area drains at Parkway Apartments could be connected to the sanitary sewer system," city sewer utility manager David Sorrell wrote Glascock.  The local Sierra Club chapter also pointed out that the apartment complex "was in blatant violation of the ordinance." 
City sewer personnel informed Walters' management team about the violations on Jan. 4, but after receiving assurances of followup, heard nothing two weeks later and decided to move ahead with the formal citation. 
"These connections are violations of current ordinances and are significant sources of inflow into the sewer system, and I feel they must be removed," Sorrell told Glascock. 

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