Kingman family seeking to avoid $20,000 connection cost

Unwilling to take no for an answer, Karen and Leonard Zeyouma are set to go before the Kingman Municipal Utilities Commission to propose changes to Kingman's utility regulations Thursday.

The last time they came before the commission, their request to move their septic system in order to have more room to expand the size of their home was denied. If correspondence between city staff members regarding the proposals is any sort of telltale sign, it's likely the Zeyoumas will get denied a third time.

Their original request was denied based on section 4.3 of Kingman's utility regulations, which says, "After a public sewer is available, development on a previously undeveloped property or redevelopment of a previously developed property shall be connected to the public sewer system."

The Zeyoumas want to add, "if development or redevelopment would negatively affect the City's wastewater management by either 1) increasing the flow of water/sewage to an existing septic tank beyond its capacity, and/or 2) increasing the flow to the existing septic tank which will thus result in a need to increase the volume of an existing septic tank or the development or redevelopment of an entire new septic system," to the end of the stipulation used to deny their request.

According to the regulations on the book, "After a public sewer is available, no permits shall be issued to construct any private sewer disposal system."

The Zeyoumas want to tack this to the end of the sentence: "although it may be permitted to modify an existing system if there is no increase in flow to an existing septic or increase in septic volume."

Assistant City Engineer Mike Prior wrote to Greg Henry, the city's engineer, and suggested people looking to avoid connecting to the sewer be required to obtain written proof that their building additions won't increase the existing septic system's design flow or tank size.

Kingman Finance Director Coral Loyd agreed with Prior and took it a step further.

She said the city entered into a loan agreement in order to finance the construction of wastewater treatment plants that are in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency and Arizona department of Environmental Quality.

"The loan was approved contingent upon several factors, including a long-term financial plan as well as utility regulation in place to ensure proper treatment of sewage and future sewer system connectivity," she wrote. "I do not recommend the utility regulation be modified to be less stringent; in fact, less stringent sewer connection regulations in the past created some of the problems we face today."

After the initial denial, the Zeyoumas appealed the commission's decision to City Council, and their request was denied once again.

To relocate their septic would cost just over $2,000, while connecting to the city's sewer system would cost over $20,000. There are no homes between them and the line, so the price of expansion falls squarely on their shoulders.

The rule, which was enacted in 2004, arose from the problems associated with failing septic systems. Over the years, the number of failed septic systems left the ground in parts of the city saturated with contaminants, leaving the wastewater nowhere to go.

To combat the problem, the city enacted rules that basically force people with failing septic systems to connect to the city's sewer system.

The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. today at the City Complex, 310 N. Fourth St.