Chapter 13.10
SEWER SYSTEMS – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sections:

13.10.005    Intent, method and scope.

13.10.010    Sewer powers authorized, service area transition.

13.10.015    Definitions.

13.10.020    Sanitary disposal required.

13.10.030    Sewer connection required.

13.10.040    Wastewater treatment system required.

13.10.050    Collective outfalls permitted.

13.10.060    Onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) permits.

13.10.070    Inspection and maintenance of onsite wastewater treatment systems.

13.10.080    Onsite wastewater system (OWTS) pumping, sludge removal and treatment.

13.10.090    Maintenance and repair requirements for private sewer.

13.10.005 Intent, method and scope.

(a)    Intent. This chapter and Chapter 13.15 KGBC (sewers) are intended to address the sewage and septic waste disposal needs of those areas of the borough that are outside of the city of Ketchikan and the city of Saxman. The purpose is to protect public health, maintain environmental quality, preserve property values, promote economic development, and meet the community land use goals of the borough comprehensive plan through the regulation of wastewater disposal.

(b)    Scope. The sewer provisions do not apply to areas within the city of Ketchikan or the city of Saxman. They do not replace regulations of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). They are intended to be read consistently with ADEC requirements for wastewater disposal. More specifically:

(1)    The provisions require that wastewater treatment shall be addressed by connection to a properly permitted and operating onsite wastewater treatment system that discharges to either an onsite subsurface drainfield or a marine outfall, or a public sewer;

(2)    The provisions set standards for design, installation, maintenance, and operation of individual onsite wastewater disposal systems, and provide for the borough to administer and enforce those standards;

(3)    The provisions prohibit “wastewater discharge” other than through approved means permitted by this code or the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC); and

(4)    The provisions provide standards for connection to public sewers, and specify when such connections are required. [Ord. No. 1704A, §1, 4-7-14.]

13.10.010 Sewer powers authorized, service area transition.

(a)    The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has all powers necessary or incidental to providing the following services within the area of the borough outside the city of Ketchikan and the city of Saxman:

(1)    The planning, design, construction and operation of sewer collection systems and treatment facilities;

(2)    The planning, design, construction of onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems;

(3)    The provision of sewer and septic waste collection and disposal services; and

(4)    Inspection and maintenance of all wastewater treatment systems providing for the disposal of sewerage effluent on site or to a marine outfall.

(b)    The powers and duties of the borough in subsection (a) of this section shall be exercised by the borough as an enterprise activity. The manager shall establish a sewer enterprise fund for this function. The assembly shall approve such rates and requirements as it deems appropriate for provision of sewer and septic waste collection and disposal services. [Ord. No. 1704A, §2, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 1204, §1, 3-4-02. Code 1974 §17.10.005.]

13.10.015 Definitions.

The following words, terms, and phrases when used in this title shall have the meanings ascribed to them in the section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.

(a)    “ADEC” means the State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

(b)    “Borough” means the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

(c)    “Borough inspector” means the borough director of public works or the person hired by the borough to be responsible for inspections.

(d)    “Equivalent dwelling unit (EDU)” means a billable unit of sewer collection and treatment service representing an average single-family residential flow rate.

(e)    “Leak” means leaks, seepages, discharges, outflows, escape, drips, or trickles of sewage from an OWTS or a private collective outfall, or other sewer infrastructure located on the responsible party’s property.

(f)    “Onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS)” means a primary, secondary or tertiary system designed and intended to treat septic waste, sewage, or other wastewater in a manner which complies with ADEC requirements which is located on the same lot or parcel as the structure it is intended to serve.

(g)    “Outfall” means a pipeline or tunnel that discharges sewage or wastewater to the ocean or other water body.

(h)    “Owner” means the owner of record.

(i)    “Private sewer” means a sewer line, pipe, drain, or other sewer facility other than a public sewer.

(j)    “Public sewer” means a sewer system, sewer line, drain, pipe, sludge disposal, composting facility, or other facility owned or operated by the borough.

(k)    “Pumper” means a person in the business of pumping onsite wastewater disposal tanks.

(l)    “Repair” means to restore or replace a component of an onsite wastewater disposal system, but does not include an enlargement or alteration of any component of the system.

(m)    “Sewage” means water-carried wastes discharged from a plumbing collection system from residences, buildings and commercial and industrial establishments.

(n)    “Sewer lateral” means a sewer line, pipe, drain, or other sewer facility leading from a plumbing outlet, drain or other facility to a public sewer main.

(o)    “Sewer permit” means a permit issued by the borough authorizing connection to a public sewer system owned or operated by the borough.

(p)    “Sludge” means a solid, semisolid, or liquid waste that contains at least five percent solids by weight, and that is generated at a municipal, residential, commercial, or industrial wastewater treatment plant, a septic tank, or a water supply treatment plant.

(q)    “Surface water” means any persistent natural or manmade source of water which is not directly attributable to a single rainfall or snowmelt event. Surface water includes all lakes, springs, creeks, streams, intermittent or seasonal flows, natural or artificial bodies of water and waters of the State as defined in AS 05.25.100(15).

(r)    “Wastewater” means water contaminated by human excreta, food wastes, wash water, water discharged from sinks, showers and laundry, and other liquid wastes commonly discharged into water-carried sewage disposal systems, and such diluting water as may have entered the waste disposal system. Wastewater does not mean liquids containing hazardous wastes as defined by federal, State, or municipal law. [Ord. No. 1704A, §3, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 1307S, §2, 5-3-04; Ord. No. 1204, §1, 3-4-02. Code 1974 §17.20.010. Formerly 13.15.020.]

13.10.020 Sanitary disposal required.

(a)    It shall be unlawful for any person to dispose of wastewater, sewage, or septic waste in an unsanitary manner.

(b)    Definition. As used in this section, the term “unsanitary manner” includes placing, dumping, discharging, depositing, or allowing the placing, dumping, discharging, or depositing of untreated sewage or septic waste in an unauthorized manner upon public or private property. For purposes of this title, this term does not include urine or excrement coming directly from a human body.

(c)    Failure to dispose of wastewater, sewage or septic waste in accordance with subsection (a) of this section shall be a violation of this section.

(d)    Penalty. A violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be subject to a fine of $300. In addition, any such violation shall be considered a public nuisance subject to abatement through injunctive relief. The violator shall be responsible for costs incurred for remediation. [Ord. No. 1704A, §5, 4-7-14.]

13.10.030 Sewer connection required.

(a)    Generally. All households, dwelling units, businesses, and other developed properties located within the nonareawide portion of the borough and within 300 feet of a public sewer shall connect to the public sewer not later than 30 days after written notice is given to the owner of record of the property that the public sewer is available for use and a connection is required. A public sewer’s area of service may be amended from time to time and is set forth on maps and available for public inspection in the public works department and the borough clerk’s office. Charges for sewer service shall begin accruing the first day of the month following the month in which a connection is required to the sewer system.

(b)    Privately Owned Collection Systems. All private collection systems located within the nonareawide portion of the borough and within 300 feet of a public sewer are required to connect to the public sewer. Borough acceptance of all or a portion of the private collection system exclusive of the connection to the main will be determined by the borough public works department. Those portions of the system determined to be compromised will remain the responsible party’s responsibility to maintain and operate until such time as repairs are made to ensure its acceptance is in the best interest of the borough.

(c)    Exceptions. The following exceptions apply to the requirement in subsection (a) of this section to connect to the public sewer not later than 30 days after written notice is given to the record owner of the property that the public sewer is available for use and a connection is required.

(1)    No Onsite Wastewater Treatment System in Use at the Time of Notification. Upon a showing of good cause, the borough public works director may extend the 30-day period for subject properties that do not have a fully functional and compliant ADEC approved onsite wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system at the time of notification. In no case, however, shall the time, with the extension, exceed a total of six months.

(2)    Onsite Wastewater System in Use at the Time of Notification. If at the time notice of availability is given, the subject property has a fully functional and compliant ADEC approved onsite wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal system, the property owner may request an extension for up to six years before connecting to the public sewer is required. A written request shall be granted, and the subject property shall not be compelled to connect for up to six years from the date of notification, provided the onsite system continues to qualify for the extension under this subsection. The owner of a qualifying system under this section shall have an annual inspection certifying that it is operating properly, it is in compliance with ADEC requirements, and such certification(s) must be filed with the borough public works department every year by the end of each calendar year. This extension is automatically, and immediately, revoked if the existing onsite wastewater system fails to function properly, the system no longer meets the ADEC requirements, no annual certification is filed with the borough public works department by the required deadline, or six years from the date of notification have passed. Connection to the public sewer system is required within 30 days from the date of revocation.

(d)    Failure to Connect. In the event a property owner fails to connect the owner’s property to the public sewer in accordance with this section, such property shall be considered a public nuisance. The borough may abate such public nuisance by obtaining an order from the court compelling the property owner’s compliance with the provisions of this title, and enjoin occupation of the property until the property is properly connected to the public sewer.

(e)    When a connection to a public sewer is required in compliance with this section, the connection to the public sewer shall be made, and the property’s onsite wastewater disposal system, if any, shall be abandoned, either by removal or filling with suitable material at the time the connection is made. [Ord. No. 1704A, §7, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 1349, §1, 4-18-05; Ord. No. 1204, §1, 3-4-02. Code 1974 §17.20.125. Formerly 13.15.250.]

13.10.040 Wastewater treatment system required.

(a)    When a connection to a public sewer is not required under the provisions of KGBC 13.10.030, the property shall be connected to either a private wastewater treatment system, private collective outfall system, OWTS, or other approved system that complies with the provisions of this title and other applicable regulations.

(b)    Before beginning construction or modification of building within the borough but outside the city of Ketchikan and city of Saxman that either requires a wastewater disposal permit from the ADEC under 18 AAC 72.215, or increases the occupancy of the structure(s), the property owner shall submit to the borough public works department permits demonstrating compliance with ADEC wastewater disposal standards.

(c)    A wastewater treatment system shall not be operated until it has been installed in accordance with the design and manufacturer’s instructions with final approval to operate issued by ADEC to demonstrate compliance with ADEC wastewater disposal standards submitted to the borough public works department. [Ord. No. 1704A, §8, 4-7-14.]

13.10.050 Collective outfalls permitted.

(a)    OWTS may be connected to a private collective outfall which has been permitted by the ADEC under 18 AAC 72.275 and is shown to be in compliance with ADEC outfall discharge limitations. The owner must provide the borough public works director or designee with a copy of the ADEC permit to construct and a copy of the ADEC wastewater discharge permit for the outfall, and if the outfall is not owned by the property owner, evidence of permission from the owner of the outfall for connection to the outfall.

(b)    If an outfall fails to meet the ADEC standards for discharge, the outfall owner shall make such repairs as are required, at the owner’s own expense, in order to comply with the discharge standards. Upon notice from the public works director or designee, or from ADEC that an outfall fails to meet ADEC standards, the owner shall, within 30 days, either:

(1)    Repair the defects sufficient to meet ADEC standards; or

(2)    Provide a plan and schedule to do so within 180 days of the date of notice of noncompliance with discharge standards, and diligently carry out the plan to completion.

(c)    It shall be a violation of this section to:

(1)    Connect to an outfall without first complying with subsection (a) of this section;

(2)    Fail to comply with subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section; or

(3)    Operate a collective outfall without an ADEC permit to do so.

(d)    Penalty. A violation of subsection (c)(1) through (c)(3) of this section shall be punishable by a fine of $200 as referenced in KGBC 1.25.050, Fine schedule. [Ord. No. 1704A, §9, 4-7-14.]

13.10.060 Onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) permits.

(a)    No person shall construct, install, repair, alter, add connections to, reconstruct, or relocate a new or existing OWTS unless a domestic wastewater disposal permit is first obtained from the ADEC as required in 18 AAC 72.215. Provided, however, that if the modification is to a structure with an existing permitted OWTS for which ADEC does not require a new or amended permit, the person shall comply with the requirements of KGBC 13.10.040(b) before performing the work.

(b)    Penalty. A violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to a fine of $200 as referenced in KGBC 1.25.050, Fine schedule. If work in violation of subsection (a) of this section is performed by a person other than the owner, both the owner of the property and the entity performing the work are responsible for the violation. [Ord. No. 1704A, §10, 4-7-14.]

13.10.070 Inspection and maintenance of onsite wastewater treatment systems.

(a)    Prior to the issuance of a zoning permit, required pursuant to KGBC 18.55.020, the owner of property seeking a zoning permit shall provide to the borough a copy of the Department of Environmental Conservation approved onsite wastewater treatment system plan to be installed, along with all inspection and maintenance requirements for that particular system. At a minimum, the inspection and maintenance requirements shall state the following:

(1)    Frequency of inspections;

(2)    Items to inspect;

(3)    If applicable, frequency of taking effluent grab samples to be tested for fecal coliform by a certified lab, and the acceptable range of fecal coliform count;

(4)    If applicable, frequency of pumping the system;

(5)    List of system component parts with the manufacturer’s name, address and phone number; and

(6)    If applicable, list of system consumables, such as chlorine tablets, along with name and address of suppliers for replacements.

(b)    The borough shall be responsible for ensuring that inspection and maintenance of the mechanical and electrical systems of all new wastewater treatment systems installed per KGBC 13.10.010 complies with the following methods:

(1)    Per the inspection schedule provided in subsection (a) of this section, the property owner shall submit to the borough a signed inspection and maintenance report by a professional licensed engineer or other person certified by ADEC for onsite wastewater treatment system inspections, indicating that the system has been inspected and is operating within the design parameters.

(2)    In the event an approved and installed system is not inspected and maintained per subsection (b)(1) of this section, the borough shall have the authority to have the inspection and maintenance done and/or supervised by the borough, professional engineer, certified plumber or electrician, as appropriate, or any firm approved of by the borough to perform the services required.

(c)    The borough shall not be responsible for inspection or maintenance of the electrical systems, including wiring, mechanical systems, including piping prior to the wastewater treatment system itself, system vessels and tanks, drain fields, or any other system or component not directly a part of the wastewater treatment system. In the event a failure of the wastewater treatment system occurs which is not associated with normal inspection and maintenance of the system, the Department of Environmental Conservation will be notified for enforcement action. [Ord. No. 1704A, §4, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 1204, §1, 3-4-02. Code 1974 §17.10.120. Formerly 13.10.020.]

13.10.080 Onsite wastewater system (OWTS) pumping, sludge removal and treatment.

(a)    The borough may monitor and inspect OWTS located within the portion of the borough outside the city of Ketchikan and city of Saxman.

(b)    For structures with OWTS identified in subsection (a) of this section that are readily accessible by a sludge pumping vehicle, the borough will provide for pumping of the systems once every three years. For purposes of this section, readily accessible is defined as the ability of a sludge pumping vehicle to drive to within 100 feet of the septic tank to be pumped, and for which the elevation of the sludge pumping vehicle pump minus the elevation of the bottom of the septic tank is less than or equal to plus 25 feet. For properties that have road access and are not readily accessible, the owner will be required to pay the pumper the extra costs associated with pumping of the tank. Fees, rates and charges for regular pumping shall be as established in KGBC 13.15.170.

(c)    For structures with OWTS which do not have reasonable access by a sludge pumping vehicle and for hotels, motels and resorts, the borough will not provide pumping service for the septic system. Owners of these OWTS shall provide the borough public works director with a statement describing their maintenance schedule including method and frequency for pumping their OWTS which meets or exceeds the minimum recommendations of the manufacturer. Failure to provide such a schedule within 10 days of written request by the borough shall be considered a violation of this subsection. Violation of this subsection shall be punishable by a fine of $100 as referenced in KGBC 1.25.050, Fine schedule. Fees, rates and charges for acceptance of sludge shall be as established in KGBC 13.15.170. [Ord. No. 1704A, §6, 4-7-14; Ord. No. 1411, §1, 11-6-06; Ord. No. 1307S, §1, 5-3-04; Ord. No. 1206, §1, 2-4-02. Code 1974 §17.10.130. Formerly 13.10.030.]

13.10.090 Maintenance and repair requirements for private sewer.

(a)    General. All owners of private sewers have the responsibility to maintain their respective systems, so as to comply with the intent of this chapter and for the abatement of any nuisance or health hazard arising from its malfunction.

(b)    Definition. As used in this section, the term “nuisance or health hazard” includes all sewage leaks or disposal of wastewater, sewage, or septic waste in an unsanitary manner, including failure for any private system, including private outfalls, to meet ADEC discharge requirements of any sort.

(c)    Responsible Party Discovers Nuisance or Health Hazard.

(1)    Upon the discovery of a nuisance or health hazard, the responsible party shall notify the borough public works department in person or by phone within 48 hours. The notification shall include information about the location of the nuisance or health hazard, the date and time the nuisance or health hazard was discovered, and, if known, the type, concentration, and estimated volume of sewage involved thereto.

(2)     Within 15 days of discovering a nuisance or health hazard, the responsible party shall submit to the borough public works department for approval, a written report describing the cause of the nuisance or health hazard, the corrective measures taken to stop the nuisance or health hazard, steps taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future, and actions taken or a plan of actions to remediate the area of the nuisance or health hazard. Such written notification shall not relieve the responsible party of any expense, loss, damage, or other liability which may be incurred as a result of damage to the public or any public sewage system or third party as a result of the nuisance or health hazard; nor shall such notification relieve the responsible party of any fines, civil penalties or other liabilities which may be imposed by this chapter or any other applicable law.

(d)    Responsible Party Is Notified by the Borough.

(1)    Notice to the property owner from either ADEC or the borough public works director or designee that a private sewer is not functioning properly creates a rebuttable presumption that the private sewer is not being maintained in compliance with subsection (a) of this section, and that he has reason to believe there is a nuisance or health hazard from, or on, the property. Upon receipt of such notice the property owner must do one of the following within 15 days:

a.    Provide proof in the form of an inspection report from an engineer that the private sewer infrastructure located on the owner’s property has been tested, is operating in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and ADEC or borough standards, and there is no nuisance or health hazard;

b.    Provide proof that the private sewer infrastructure located on the owner’s property has been repaired and restored to proper operation, describing the cause of the nuisance or health hazard and the corrective measures taken to stop the nuisance or health hazard, and, if applicable, the steps taken to prevent future occurrences, and the actions taken or a plan of actions to remediate the area of the nuisance or health hazard;

c.    Provide a plan and schedule, acceptable to the borough public works director, for repairing the nuisance or health hazard. The borough public works director, for good cause, may extend the 15-day period if sufficient evidence is provided that demonstrates that it is impracticable to perform the repairs within the 15-day time period, but in no case shall the time period to perform the repairs exceed a total of six months; or

d.    Provide a notice to the borough public works director or designee that the responsible party believes the owner’s system is not leaking, contesting the notice, and authorizing the borough to inspect and test the owner’s system for leaks.

(2)    Inspection/Testing. In the event the responsible party denies the nuisance or health hazard is from or on the property, in the interest of public health and welfare, maintenance of environmental quality, preserving property values, promoting economic development, and meeting the community land use goals of the borough comprehensive plan, the borough public works director, or designee, shall be permitted to enter upon the property for the limited purpose of inspecting, testing, and confirming that the sewage leak is from, or on, the property.

(3)    In the event the borough public works director or designee is denied access to the subject property, the borough may obtain an administrative search warrant to inspect and test the property’s sewage system.

(e)    Violations.

(1)    Failure to report a nuisance or health hazard in accordance with subsection (c)(1) of this section shall be a violation of this section.

(2)    Failure to submit a written report in accordance with subsection (c)(2) or (d)(1) of this section shall be a violation of this section.

(3)     Failure to take action to remedy a nuisance or health hazard within 15 days of discovering a sewage leak in accordance with subsection (c)(2) of this section shall be a violation of this section.

(4)    Failure to respond to a notice of nuisance or health hazard within 15 days of receiving notice under subsection (d)(1) of this section shall be a violation of this section.

(5)    Failure to diligently pursue a plan submitted under subsection (d)(1)(c) of this section to completion is a violation of this section.

(6)    Should a property owner contest the notice of noncompliance under subsection (d)(1)(d) of this section, the public works director or designee may either withdraw the notice of noncompliance or may engage an engineer to access and test the private sewer and provide a report. If the report concludes that the private sewer is operating properly, the borough shall bear the cost of the inspection and report. If the report concludes that the private sewer is not in compliance, the report shall identify what must be done to repair the system, and the property owner shall be responsible to reimburse the borough for the costs of the inspection and report, in addition to being responsible to perform the repairs in accordance with subsection (d)(1), (2) or (3) of this section.

(f)    Penalties. A violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be subject to a fine of $100. A violation of subsections (e)(1) through (e)(5) of this section shall be subject to a fine of $200. In addition, any such violations shall be considered a public nuisance subject to abatement through injunctive relief. The violator shall be responsible for costs incurred for remediation. [Ord. No. 1704A, §11, 4-7-14.]