This story has been updated.
MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- If you received a letter this week from the Village of Mamaroneck warning about home and business inspections, it's not a scam.
To comply with a state "consent order" from the Department of Environmental Conservation, the village is about to inspect properties for illegal stormwater hookups, including roof downspouts, patio drains and sump pumps that cause sewer overflows polluting Mamaroneck Harbor and Long Island Sound.
An investigation of the village’s sanitary sewer system found a high volume of inflow and infiltration, dubbed "I&I" in several neighborhoods around Mamaroneck, according to Village Manager Richard Slingerland.
"Letters being sent out from the village are official communications and not a scam,'' Slingerland said Thursday.
The Village of Mamaroneck is cooperating with the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities, the New York DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve area water quality as it relates to rivers and streams, the harbor and sound, Slingerland said.
This relates both to the stormwater system, through a program called “illegal discharge detection and elimination," or IDDE, and to the sanitary sewer system, which carries sewage from all homes and businesses, through the I&I program.
I&I is the flow of clear water (rain water or groundwater) into the sanitary sewer system. "Infiltration" occurs when groundwater seeps into the sanitary sewer pipes through cracks and separated joints, from aging or outdated sewer pipes that are on both public and private property, including a homeowner’s lateral connection to the sewer in the street.
"Inflow" is usually traced to sump pumps -- used by homeowners to keep groundwater out of their basement -- roof downspouts, patio drains and foundation drains connected to the sanitary sewer system. This excessive inflow of clear water overloads the sewer and wastewater treatment plant, and causes sewage to overflow from manholes, Slingerland said.
The Village of Mamaroneck has been issued a DEC consent order -- that can lead to fines of up to $37,500 daily -- for sanitary sewer overflows caused by excessive I&I.
Slingerland said the original violation related to sanitary sewer overflows on April 30-May 1 of this year. "At this time they are looking for a consent order to cover a five-year time frame, with milestones to achieve that will help show progress in the village's remediation efforts,'' Slingerland said on Friday. "There is no immediate deadline for remedy, but it does cover a five-year time frame."
In continued efforts to comply with the consent orders and identify improper and potentially illegal building connections, Arcadis, a consultant hired by the village, will inspect buildings and homes on various streets.
If your street and home or business has been selected for inspection, you will be issued an official letter on Village of Mamaroneck letterhead, Slingerland said.
The inspection will take about 20 minutes and will include looking in the basement to confirm sump pumps and foundation drains do not connect and drain to the sanitary sewers.
Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson said, the town "is not under a consent order, but we are working with the County to evaluate the issue of inflow and infiltration."
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