[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Scarsdale as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-12-2013 by L.L. No. 5-2013]
In recent decades, federal and state legislation has been enacted along with strict regulatory action dealing with the collection, treatment, and discharge of human wastewater. The Village of Scarsdale manages and maintains 85 miles of a sanitary collection sewer within its borders. Volumes from the sewers flow into the Westchester County trunk sewer system and are treated at county sewage treatment plants, eventually discharging into the Long Island Sound. It is critically important that the Village maintain, repair, improve and replace, when necessary, components of its sanitary sewer collection system in order to reduce extraneous flows and illegal discharges into its collection system before such flows enter the county trunk lines. A major component of the extraneous flows into the sanitary sewer collection system is inflow and infiltration from groundwaters and poorly functioning storm drainage pipes. Municipalities must, by law, take action to fix and maintain sanitary sewer collection systems and storm drains to reduce all nonsanitary flows into the sanitary sewer system, as the additional volumes adversely impact the trunk lines and the ability to treat waste at treatment plants.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the "Clean Water Act," creates strict guidelines for municipalities for managing stormwater and sanitary sewer systems, with the goal of optimal public health and safety. Under Section 402(p)(3)(B) of the Clean Water Act, municipal separate stormwater sewer systems (MS4) are required to reduce pollutants in stormwater systems to the maximum extent practicable. To regulate such stormwater systems, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized to enforce the Clean Water Act and to encourage municipalities to reduce harmful pollutants going into the stormwater system. Section 304(m) of the Clean Water Act sets forth guidelines which deal with discharges and pollutants. The Village of Scarsdale, which manages an MS4, must adhere to a set of six minimum measures in the administration of its stormwater system. One of those minimum measures is maintaining the separation of stormwater and sanitary sewer systems to prevent inflow between the two systems.
Section 824.11 of the Westchester County Code also mandates that municipalities "take immediate action to reduce extraneous flows of water due to infiltration, illegal inflow and illegal stormwater connections to tributary [sanitary] sewer systems within a municipality's borders which are adversely impacting upon many County POTW treatment plants in their ability to treat waste, comply with their State Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits (SPDES permits), and to protect and enhance the local environment." Therefore, a municipality must take all actions necessary to ensure that the sanitary sewer system and stormwater system are not integrated.
Article 14-F of the New York State General Municipal Law allows for municipalities to impose a sewer rent fee on real property, to be used solely for the maintenance, repair and improvements of the sanitary sewer system. These funds will help further facilitate the Village of Scarsdale's compliance with the federal, state, and county guidelines on sanitary sewer systems by establishing a steady stream of dedicated funding to perform the necessary maintenance, repairs and improvements to mitigate the infiltration and inflows from other sources, including, but not limited to, stormwater and other illicit connections to the sanitary sewer system. Compliance with federal, state, and county code further enhances and protects the public health, safety and welfare.
Pursuant to Article 14-F of the New York State General Municipal Law (the "Sewer Rent Law"), and in order to defray the cost of maintaining and improving the Village's sanitary sewer system, sewer rents are hereby established. The revenue collected by these sewer rents shall be used for the general operation, maintenance, repairs and improvements of the municipality's sanitary sewer system in accordance with state law.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CLEAN WATER ACT
- The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) and any subsequent amendments thereto.
- PUBLICLY OWNED TREATMENT WORKS (POTW) TREATMENT PLANT
- The portion of the POTW which is designated to provide treatment (including recycling and reclamation) of municipal sewage and industrial wastewater.
- SANITARY SEWAGE
- Sewage discharging from the sanitary conveniences of dwellings (including apartment houses), office buildings, assisted-living facilities, or institutions and free from stormwater, surface water, industrial water, industrial wastes and other wastes.
- SANITARY SEWER
- A sewer intended to carry only sanitary or sanitary and industrial wastewaters from residences, commercial buildings, and institutions to which stormwaters, surface waters and groundwaters are not intentionally admitted through either direct or indirect connection or lack of maintenance or neglect.
- A combination of the water-carried wastes from residences, business buildings, institutions and commercial establishments, together with such groundwater, surface water and stormwater as may be inadvertently present.
- SEWAGE SYSTEM
- All facilities for collecting, regulating, pumping and transporting sewage to and away from the POTW treatment plant.
- Any surface flow, runoff, and/or subsurface drainage consisting entirely of water from any form of natural precipitation and resulting from such precipitation.
- STORMWATER SYSTEM
- Publicly owned facilities on public land or privately owned facilities on private land by which stormwater is collected and/or conveyed, including, but not limited to, any roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, gutters, curbs, inlets, piped storm drains, pumping facilities, retention and detention basins, natural and human-made or altered drainage channels, reservoirs and other stormwater appurtenances to control and manage the flow of stormwater.
The owners of real property within the Village of Scarsdale and those outside the Village using the Village's sanitary sewer system or any part thereof shall be required to pay a sanitary sewer rent fee for the purpose of defraying the costs of operating, maintaining, repairing, replacing and otherwise improving the sanitary sewer system.
The Village Board of Trustees shall annually establish by resolution a per-unit fee schedule based on water consumption and a flat fee for properties that are only connected to the sanitary sewer system and are not served by the Village water system. These fees shall be included in the Village's Annual Fees and Charges Schedule.
All revenues generated from sanitary sewer rents, including interests and penalties, shall be kept in a separate account to be designated as the "sewer rent fund." All such funds, together with the interest thereon, shall be used in accordance with General Municipal Law § 453 and this article.
The sanitary sewer rent fee identified in § 244-4 herein shall be effective for sewer use beginning with the January through March calendar quarter and shall appear on the May 2013 water bill and the water bill for every quarter thereafter.
The Village Board of Trustees shall impose a fee schedule based on water consumption, setting a standard sewer rent fee per unit of water. One unit of water constitutes 100 cubic feet (one ccf) or 748 gallons.
If water is not consumed or utilized, and a connection is maintained with the Village's sanitary sewer system, a flat sewer rent fee per quarter shall be imposed and shall also be included in the Village's Annual Fees and Charges Schedule.
Sewer rents shall constitute a lien on the date payable, upon the real property served by the sewer system or such part or parts thereof for which sewer rents have been established and imposed, and such lien shall continue thereon until paid or satisfied. The lien shall be prior and superior to every other lien or claim except the lien of an existing tax, assessment or other lawful charge imposed by or for the Village.
A penalty of 5% of the sewer rent fee shall be imposed for the first month unpaid and subsequently increased 1% for each succeeding month that the rent remains unpaid.