Sewer Problems? Call (309) 342-0131
Grease Interceptor Waiver
Combined Sewer Overflow
Frequently Asked Questions
Collection System Maintenance
The maintenance of the sanitary sewer collection system is critical to ensuring the public health of our customers. The Sewer Collection Department is responsible for the sanitary sewer collection system maintenance. Sanitary sewer mains are primarily located underground, connected by a series of manholes. Employees must be able to access the manholes to maintain the system. The operation and maintenance of the sanitary sewer system is a protection of the capital investment that the community has made in its wastewater collection system, which extends its effective life cycle and reduces operational costs. Inadequate operation and maintenance of the sanitary sewer system can cause failures, which can result in sanitary sewer overflows.
To prevent sewer main blockages, the combination sewer cleaner truck, or “Jet-Vac,” is used to clean the sewers. The Jet-Vac uses high-pressure water jetting (2500 psi) and a high-flow vacuum source 8,000 cfm) to scour pipes clean and then suck out material that might cause blockages, to restore and maintain normal sewer flow. The Jet-Vac is run by a team of two employees who routinely clean sewer mains everyday, weather permitting. On average, the truck is cleans over 30,000 feet of sewer main every month. It is important to point out, the Jet-Vac must park directly adjacent to the manhole it is working from. In most cases, this manhole is in the roadway, so please be aware and keep speeds to a minimum if you encounter the Jet-Vac team working.
Hydro-excavating is another crucial aspect the Jet-Vac is able to provide the Collection System maintenance crew. By utilizing water pressure from the hose wand on the Jet-Vac, soil and debris can be eroded and broken down, allowing the Jet-Vac to vacuum it away. Hydro-excavating is crucial when uncovering a gas or electric utility that can be extremely dangerous if damaged during excavation, or when excavating around other sensitive utilities.
For further information on the Districts jet-vac, follow the link below.
Sewer televising is the capability of visually inspecting sanitary and storm mains using Closed-Circuit TV equipment. The equipment is set up inside of a “TV Truck” which includes the camera system, consisting of the camera attached to a drivable tractor, a cable reel, used to house the cable attached to the back of the tractor providing power and video feed, and the computer system and control desk.
The TV Truck can utilize three different types of tractors. The Pathfinder is a smaller compact tractor used in pipe sized from 8″ to 18″. It is typically used for routine work due to its quick and easy setup. The Badger is a larger tractor which can be used for pipe sized from 8″ to 60″. It is typically used for larger sized pipe inspections by the District. Lastly, the lateral launcher tractor is utilized to inspect private sewer laterals from inside the public sewer main. The use of two cables allows for the tractor to drive down the sewer main, then launch a second camera from a chute, up into a private sewer lateral connection for inspection.
From the control desk, the operator records the inspection using data management software which provides information overlay and report creation. The video data is stored and attached to the Geographic Information System for use by District personnel, to aid with decision making and also strategic planning.
For a visual view of how the lateral launcher system works, follow the link below.
TV Truck Controls Desk
Lift Station #9 on N Henderson St
Storm Station #18 on N. West St
Lift Stations and Storm Stations
The District maintains seventeen lift stations and four wet weather storm stations throughout the entire collection system.
When sanitary mains are unable to flow by gravity due to elevation restraints, a lift station is required to pump the raw sewage to a higher elevation over a certain distance, allowing for gravity flow to continue. Lift stations pump the raw sewage through a force main reaching distances up to over a mile in certain locations of Galesburg. All stations are checked by District personnel twice a week, recording pump hour readings and overall mechanics to prevent lift station failure.
Wet weather storm stations are a means of storing excess waste water within the collection system during heavy rain events, to help counter the surcharge of Inflow and Infiltration (I/I). When sewage levels reach a certain point, storm stations automatically activate and begin storing sewage in large tanks, which allow for primary settling. Once the station reaches capacity, chlorination for disinfection is applied, and the excess flow is discharged into the nearest receiving stream or storm sewer. While the station is discharging, District personnel routinely monitor chlorine residuals, to ensure that sewage receives maximum disinfection before discharge. If a storm station does not reach its storage capacity, the sewage collected is released back into the collection system following the storm event.
Private Sewer Vs. Public Sewer
The Galesburg Sanitary District maintains approximately 160 miles of sewer main in Galesburg, consisting of piping ranging from 8-inch mains up to the largest size of 66-inch pipe. The large majority of this piping lies in the center of the streets in town, but others run in back yard areas, and still others run off-road and away from existing homes. These sewers are known as ‘Public Sewers.’ While this network of piping originated a very long time ago – the first recorded sewer pipe was built in 1891 – the District did not take over ownership of the network until an Agreement with the City of Galesburg in 1967. Since that time, accurate records have been kept, and many of these records are available for viewing on the District’s Interactive Map. However, by District Ordinance, all piping that connects homes or businesses to the public sewer mains, from the point of connection with the main to the building, remains the responsibility of the property owner. These sewers are known as ‘Private Sewers.’ This includes piping that might lie under a City Street or possibly in a neighbor’s yard. If a problem is discovered on a Private Sewer, whether it is a blockage, a break, or some other type of defect, it is the responsibility of the property owner to have it repaired, no matter where it lies.
While the District has maintained Ordinances establishing proper installation of sewers in Galesburg since the late 1960’s, installation practices prior to that time were often quite different than what has been allowed since, and often are less than desirable. The most frequent installation practice that was allowed prior to 1967, that is no longer allowed, is a ‘shared’ sewer connection, between two properties. Many shared sewer connections still exist locally, but they quite often lead to Private Sewer problems that must be repaired, with an agreement between the two property owners.
The District stands ready and willing to assist property owners with the investigation of sewer problems, even if they occur on a Private Sewer. Diagnosis of a problem may be aided with the deployment of the District’s CCTV equipment, or by other means, as necessary. Property owners are always encouraged to call the District office first if they experience sewer-related problems. That way, if a problem is detected in a Public Sewer, it can be quickly identified and resolved, without expense to the owner.
Repair and Connection Fee
All work on sanitary sewers outside of buildings in Galesburg falls under the jurisdiction of the Galesburg Sanitary District. By District Ordinance 406, only licensed plumbers are allowed to do work on any sewer within the bounds of the District, and those plumbers must be separately licensed and bonded with the District. Additionally, there is an annual $100.00 License fee required, payable to the District. All paperwork will have to be submitted and reviewed before any work can commence. Below you will find a link to the permit license form as well as a sample of an indemnity bond.
Any repair made within the bounds of the District, or any repair or extension made to a sewer that will eventually flow to a District sewer main, is inspected and recorded by District personnel. District Ordinance requires that a Licensed plumber, who is bonded with the District, perform any work related to any sanitary sewer, Public or Private. By this means, all work can be ensured to be up to the standards established by both the State of Illinois, the City of Galesburg and the Galesburg Sanitary District. Any repair made to any sewer is charged an Inspection Fee of $50.00. Any new sewer connection is charged a Connection Fee of $100.00. All requirements related to fees and construction standards can be found in District Ordinances 406 and 417, copies of which are available under the ‘Public Notices’ tab on this website.
Grease Interceptor Requirements
Grease interceptors act as reservoirs, holding wastewater and food solids that enter the interceptor, where installed. Grease interceptors are installed where the possibility of fats, oils or grease (FOG) being contained in the waste stream is likely. The Galesburg Sanitary District, pursuant to its operating permit from the Environmental Protection Agency, is required to eliminate or control the introduction of FOG into the sewer system. FOG is normally found suspended in hot water as it leaves sinks and drains. As the water cools, the FOG begins to get sticky, coagulate and harden, and the food solids settle. The primary purpose of a grease interceptor is to allow the water sufficient time to cool, allowing for the FOG to become trapped in the interceptor, rather than escaping into the sewer lines, and to collect the settled food solids. If not caught in an interceptor, FOG will eventually cool and settle in sewer piping, and will cause a disruption to the sewer in a very short time. The most likely result will be a sewer plug and backup, or overflow.
Per Galesburg Sanitary District Ordinance, grease interceptors shall be provided when in the opinion of the Superintendent they are necessary for the proper handling of liquid wastes. All interceptors shall be a type and capacity approved by the Superintendent, and shall be located as to be readily and easily accessible for cleaning and inspection. Grease and oil interceptors shall be constructed of impervious material capable of withstanding abrupt and extreme changes in temperature. They shall be of substantial construction, watertight, and equipped with easily removable covers which when bolted in place shall be gastight and watertight. Grease and oil interceptors shall be a minimum 1000-gallon capacity. All fixtures and appurtenances shall be connected to the grease and oil interceptor unless expressly prohibited by the Illinois Plumbing Code. Where installed, all grease, oil and sand interceptors shall be maintained by the owner, at their own expense, in continuously efficient operation at all times.
Illinois Plumbing Code requires grease interception at virtually any Food Service Establishment. However, it is possible that a 1,000-gallon interceptor is not necessary or will not fit in the space available. The Galesburg Sanitary District has a waiver option, which can be found by clicking the link below. This waiver application can be completed and submitted for consideration, if it is felt that a 1,000-gallon interceptor is not warranted. However, any proposed Food Service Establishment is strongly encouraged to call the District office to discuss these requirements as soon as possible, and certainly before any plans are solidified or equipment installed.