Cities encourage overhead sewer systems


In hopes of helping prevent basement flooding from sewer backups, several Illinois cities have offered incentives for homeowners to install overhead sewer systems.

In older homes, wastewater from basement toilets, drains or other fixtures was carried by gravity directly to city sewers. With an overhead sewer system, that wastewater is collected in the basement and pumped up to ground level where it is then carried along with wastewater from the rest of the home by gravity to the city sewer.

“For that sewer to back up, if that level is (at a high level in the sewer), that’s still not going to reach that discharge point,” explained Justin Swinford, a civil engineer for the City of Urbana.

For more than fifteen years, Urbana has required that new homes have overhead sewer systems, and the city has a program to pay up to 75 percent of the cost of installing one in an existing home, with a cap of $4,500. For details on Urbana’s overhead sewer program, click here.

Other cities have instituted similar incentives to install overhead sewers. For details on Springfield’s Overhead Sewer program, click here.

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