On July 6, Narragansett Town Council member Patrick Murray proposed amending a Town Ordinance in a manner which would have allowed the town to compel property owners to allow entrance into a home to inspect an owner’s waste pipe for an illegal sump pump connection.

Mr. Murray hypothesized that Narragansett’s sewer capacity could be expanded by 20 percent if all illegal sump pump connection were eliminated.

Many cities and towns struggle with the issue of illegal sump pump connections and in 2018, the Town of New Ulm, Minnesota undertook an inspection of every house using a variety of methods.

In the end, only 3 percent of the houses had illegal sump pump hookups. In the past, a less ambitious inspection completed by Narragansett revealed seven  violations.

Even if 3 percent of the 9,500 household units in Narragansett had illegal hookups, that does not mean the Town sewer system could accommodate another 285 houses. Sump pump discharge only accounts for a very small percentage of a household’s water which is discharged into the sewer system during any given year.

Just using my personal experience as a guide, we live in a “high water table overlay district” (water is 18 to 36 inches from the surface during the wet season) and our sump pump runs 20-30 days during any given year. The run time (when pump is actually expelling water) varies from 1-3 minutes, three times in a 24-hour period during the wet season.

Mr. Murray’s motion, in my opinion, was nothing more than an attempt to counter the argument that 9,000 students and twice as many summer renters in the 2,000 seasonal rental properties in Narragansett are not taxing the sewer and water systems, but illegal sump pump hookups are the problem.

Common sense: It is water used by showers, toilets ,dishwashers and washing machines which account for the bulk of water deposited into the sewer system.

Mr. Murray’s representation that the town’s sewer system could expand by 20 percent (another 1,900 houses) was just another one of the many assertions he makes which are ultimately found to be without any objective merit.

Does the town need another 1,900 household units ? Only a Realtor would think so. This latest proposal by Mr. Murray – a real estate agent – is just one more instance when he has failed to balance his personal needs against the rights of those who elected him.

Finally, it is storm drains which capture rain water before it ends up as a duck pond on a property owner’s lot or seeps into a basement. In the end, it is installation of these drains which will eliminate sump pump discharge into a sewer system.

People often ask me what I think of Mr. Murray and my answer is always the same: I like Mr. Murray but he is a menace on the Town Council.

Catherine Celeberto


(2) comments

s.e. charles

Urban Renewal fixed some problems, but created more.

but to the point: when public officials garner the right to private home access without dedicated purpose, we've gotten on to a slippery slope . . .

John D.

Unfortunately the town of Narragansett was sold decade's ago to rich people from out of state who's sole purpose for owning these properties, is to make more money. Realtors will always defend these people because without them, they have nothing. The sad part about it, is some of these Realtors grew up in this town. They sold their soul for the all mighty dollar. Between the rich and the Realtors, they have more money than the actual residents, so they'll always win in court.

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