Alabaster considering changes to sewer law

Alabaster leaders are considering changes to the city's sewer laws. (File)

Alabaster leaders are considering changes to the city’s sewer laws. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Alabaster leaders are considering the first changes to the city’s sewer laws since the 1970s, and will have a public hearing on the proposed ordinance during an Aug. 5 City Council meeting.

“It would really just clean up the ordinance to bring it in line with what’s always been done,” said Alabaster City Attorney Jeff Brumlow. “The ordinance has not been updated since the ‘70s.”

Under the city’s current ordinance, all residents whose property lines are within 200 feet of a city sewer line are required to connect to the sewer line.

“Under the old ordinance, not only are residents within 200 feet required to connect, but the city can force them, and could even go dig up their yard and connect them,” Brumlow said. “We’ve never done that, as far as I know. The new ordinance would get rid of that, because it’s not something we want to do.”

If passed, the new ordinance would only require residents whose home sewer discharge points are 200 feet from a gravity sewer line to connect. Gravity sewer lines differ from force sewer mains, as force mains are under pressure and carry sewage to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

“There’s a difference between a gravity line and a force main,” Brumlow said. “A couple of neighborhoods are right next to force mains, but you can’t really tie on to those.”

Under the current law, residents whose property lines are within 200 feet of a sewer line are charged sewer fees based on their water usage. The new ordinance would continue to charge sewer fees to residents whose home sewer discharge points are 200 feet from a gravity line.

However, residents not currently connected to a city sewer line who have been paying sewer fees uninterrupted for at least eight years will have the $3,000 sewer tap fee waived by the city under the new ordinance.

The Alabaster City Council will hold a public hearing on the matter during its Aug. 5 meeting at the Alabaster Municipal Annex, which will begin at 7 p.m.

“The goal is for those who are close enough to tie on to the sewer line to tie on,” Brumlow said.