Chapter 95 – Sanitary Sewer System

95.01 PURPOSE.

The purpose of the chapters of this Code of Ordinances pertaining to Sanitary Sewers is to establish rules and regulations governing the treatment and disposal of sanitary sewage within the City in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare.


For use in these chapters, unless the context specifically indicates otherwise, the following terms are defined:

  1. “B.O.D.” (denoting Biochemical Oxygen Demand) means the quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter under standard laboratory procedure in five (5) days at twenty (20) degrees C., expressed in milligrams per liter or parts per million.
  2. “Building drain” means that part of the lowest horizontal piping of a building drainage system which receives the discharge from soil, waste, and other drainage pipes inside the walls of the building and conveys it to the building sewer, beginning five (5) feet (1.5 meters) outside the inner face of the building wall.
  3. “Building sewer” means that part of the horizontal piping from the building wall to its connection with the main sewer or the primary treatment portion of an on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system conveying the drainage of one building site.
  4. “Combined sewer” means a sewer receiving both surface run-off and sewage.
  5. “Customer” means any person responsible for the production of domestic, commercial or industrial waste which is directly or indirectly discharged into the public sewer system.
  6. “Garbage” means solid wastes from the domestic and commercial preparation, cooking, and dispensing of food, and from the handling, storage and sale of produce.
  7. “Industrial wastes” means the liquid wastes from industrial manufacturing processes, trade, or business as distinct from sanitary sewage.
  8. “Inspector” means the person duly authorized by the Council to inspect and approve the installation of building sewers and their connections to the public sewer system; and to inspect such sewage as may be discharged therefrom.
  9. “Natural outlet” means any outlet into a watercourse, pond, ditch, lake, or other body of surface or groundwater.
  10. “On-site wastewater treatment and disposal system” means all equipment and devices necessary for proper conduction, collection, storage, treatment, and disposal of wastewater from four or fewer dwelling units or other facilities serving the equivalent of fifteen persons (1500 gpd) or less.
  11. “pH” means the logarithm of the reciprocal of the weight of hydrogen ions in grams per liter of solution.
  12. “Public sewer” means a sewer in which all owners of abutting properties have equal rights, and is controlled by public authority.
  13. “Sanitary sewage” means sewage discharging from the sanitary conveniences of dwellings (including apartment houses and hotels), office buildings, factories or institutions, and free from storm, surface water, and industrial waste.
  14. “Sanitary sewer” means a sewer which carries sewage and to which storm, surface, and groundwaters are not intentionally admitted.
  15. “Sewage” means a combination of the water-carried wastes from residences, business buildings, institutions, and industrial establishments, together with such ground, surface, and storm waters as may be present.
  16. “Sewage treatment plant” means any arrangement of devices and structures used for treating sewage.
  17. “Sewage works” or “sewage system” means all facilities for collecting, pumping, treating, and disposing of sewage.
  18. “Sewer” means a pipe or conduit for carrying sewage.
  19. “Sewer service charges” means any and all charges, rates or fees levied against and payable by customers, as consideration for the servicing of said customers by said sewer system.
  20. “Slug” means any discharge of water, sewage, or industrial waste which in concentration of any given constituent or in quantity of flow exceeds for any period of duration longer than fifteen (15) minutes more than five (5) times the average twenty-four (24) hour concentration or flows during normal operation.
  21. “Storm drain” or “storm sewer” means a sewer which carries storm and surface waters and drainage but excludes sewage and industrial wastes, other than unpolluted cooling water.
  22. “Superintendent” means the Public Works Director of the City or any authorized deputy, agent, or representative.
  23. “Suspended solids” means solids that either float on the surface of, or are in suspension in water, sewage, or other liquids, and which are removable by laboratory filtering.
  24. “Watercourse” means a channel in which a flow of water occurs, either continuously or intermittently.


The Superintendent shall exercise the following powers and duties:

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 372.13[4])

  1. Operation and Maintenance. Operate and maintain the City sewage system.
  2. Inspection and Tests. Conduct necessary inspections and tests to assure compliance with the provisions of these Sanitary Sewer chapters.
  3. Records. Maintain a complete and accurate record of all sewers, sewage connections and manholes constructed showing the location and grades thereof.


No person shall do, or allow, any of the following:

  1. Damage Sewer System. Maliciously, willfully, or negligently break, damage, destroy, uncover, deface or tamper with any structure, appurtenance or equipment which is a part of the sewer system.

    (Code of Iowa, Sec. 716.1)
  2. Surface Run-off or Groundwater. Connect a roof downspout, sump pump, exterior foundation drain, areaway drain, or other source of surface run-off or groundwater to a building sewer or building drain which in turn is connected directly or indirectly to a public sanitary sewer.
  3. Manholes. Open or enter any manhole of the sewer system, except by authority of the Superintendent.
  4. Objectionable Wastes. Place or deposit in any unsanitary manner on public or private property within the City, or in any area under the jurisdiction of the City, any human or animal excrement, garbage, or other objectionable waste.
  5. Septic Tanks. Construct or maintain any privy, privy vault, septic tank, cesspool, or other facility intended or used for the disposal of sewage except as provided in these chapters.

    (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3f])
  6. Untreated Discharge. Discharge to any natural outlet within the City, or in any area under its jurisdiction, any sanitary sewage, industrial wastes, or other polluted waters, except where suitable treatment has been provided in accordance with subsequent provisions of these chapters.

    (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3f])


The owners of any houses, buildings, or properties used for human occupancy, employment, recreation or other purposes, situated within the City and abutting on any street, alley or right-of-way in which there is now located, or may in the future be located, a public sanitary or combined sewer, are hereby required to install, at such owner’s expense, suitable toilet facilities therein and a building sewer connecting such facilities directly with the proper public sewer, and to maintain the same all in accordance with the provisions of these Sanitary Sewer chapters, such compliance to be completed within sixty (60) days after date of official notice from the City to do so provided that said public sewer is located within two hundred (200) feet (61 meters) of the property line of such owner and is of such design as to receive and convey by gravity such sewage as may be conveyed to it. Billing for sanitary sewer service will begin the date of official notice to connect to the public sewer.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12 [3f])

(IAC, 567-69.1[3])


The owners of property outside the corporate limits of the City so situated that it may be served by the City sewer system may apply to the Council for permission to connect to the public sewer upon the terms and conditions stipulated by resolution of the Council.

(Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.4 [2 & 3])


The Superintendent and other duly authorized employees of the City bearing proper credentials and identification shall be permitted to enter all properties for the purposes of inspection, observation, measurement, sampling, and testing in accordance with the provisions of these Sanitary Sewer chapters. The Superintendent or representatives shall have no authority to inquire into any processes including metallurgical, chemical, oil, refining, ceramic, paper, or other industries beyond that point having a direct bearing on the kind and source of discharge to the sewers or waterways or facilities for waste treatment.


The Superintendent and other duly authorized employees of the City bearing proper credentials and identification shall be permitted to enter all private properties through which the City holds a duly negotiated easement for the purposes of, but not limited to, inspection, observation, measurement, sampling, repair, and maintenance of any portion of the sewage works lying within said easement. All entry and subsequent work, if any, on said easement, shall be done in full accordance with the terms of the duly negotiated easement pertaining to the private property involved.


The following special penalty provisions shall apply to violations of these Sanitary Sewer chapters:

  1. Notice of Violation. Any person found to be violating any provision of these chapters except subsections 1, 3 and 4 of Section 95.04, shall be served by the City with written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a reasonable time limit for the satisfactory correction thereof. The offender shall, within the period of time stated in such notice, permanently cease all violations.
  2. Continuing Violations. Any person who shall continue any violation beyond the time limit provided for in subsection 1 hereof shall be in violation of this Code of Ordinances. Each day in which any such violation shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense.
  3. Liability Imposed. Any person violating any of the provisions of these chapters shall become liable to the City for any expense, loss, or damage occasioned the City by reason of such violation.