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Long Beach proposes new sewer rules

Long Beach may soon require residents to inspect and repair their homes' sewer systems in an attempt to prevent wastewater in pipes from leaking into groundwater and waterways.

The process, known as wastewater exfiltration, occurred in the city after superstorm Sandy and heavily damaged the city's water treatment system.

A proposed local law -- scheduled for a Jan. 21 public hearing -- would require residents to maintain their sewer hook-ups to ensure there is no leakage and everything is in working order.

An inspection would be required at the time of the home's sale, and any issues would need to be fixed before the transfer of title, the proposal states.

"This is an environmental concern for the city," said city attorney Corey Klein, speaking at a Long Beach City Council meeting Tuesday night. He added that the final version of the law was still being revised.

The proposal would hold homeowners responsible for any necessary repairs, city records state. Failure to comply with the law would be considered a "public nuisance," and homeowners would need to pay for any damages caused by their sewer hook-ups, the proposal states.

The proposal would also help prevent infiltration of stormwater or floodwaters into the city sewer system, said Jim LaCarrubba, the city's public works commissioner.

"Ocean and bay waters got into the system during Sandy," he said. "This is seeking to prevent that."

The public hearing on the law is scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall, located at 1 West Chester St. in Long Beach.

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