Frequently Asked Questions

The Program is designed to stop stormwater and groundwater from entering the sanitary sewer system where it does not belong and where it creates problems. Problems include basement backups, pollution of our waterways, and clear water in the sanitary sewer system that costs money for treatment that could be avoided.
How does a storm affect sewer capacity?
In some ways, sewers are like roads. They can only handle so much traffic at any given time. When too much water gets into the sanitary sewer system, it can overload the pipes, causing a traffic jam that starts backing up in the system, possibly into your basement.

I don’t have problems with sewer backups. Why should I participate in this Program?
People who don’t have sewer backups themselves may not realize how big an impact leaks in their lateral have on their neighbors and community. A leaky lateral can contribute from 2 to 50 gallons of water per minute to the sanitary sewer system. When there is too much water in the sewers, the excess water backs up and spills out.

What else can I do to help prevent backups?

• One of the simplest things you can do to help keep water out of your basement is to make sure the dirt next to your home is properly graded, meaning it is pitched, or sloped away from your house.   

• Seal cracks in concrete next to your house, such as where a sidewalk meets your house, with something like a polyurethane sealant.  Doing so can help keep water out of your basement.

• Make sure the downspouts on your house are extended at least six feet to ten feet away from your basement. Every downspout can deliver up to 12 gallons of water a minute during a heavy storm, water you do not want causing damage to your basement.

• Get a backup system for your sump pump.  When you lose power at home, your sump pump becomes useless, unless you have a backup system. Battery backup systems can buy you enough time to get a generator running, or to borrow a generator for longer periods without power. Make sure the discharge pipe from your sump pump is at least six to ten feet away from your house.

Learn more and see “how to” videos at