There are many steps you can take to prevent future flooding in your basement. You can find more information about how our sewer systems
work and why basements flood at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District website.
First, you can have a licensed plumber install overhead sewers in your home. This moves the sewer pipes so they run between the rafters on your basement ceiling. This can be expensive but might be worth it if you often experience flooding. Consult a licensed plumber.
Second, you can help ease the strain on our sewer system during large storms by disconnecting your downspouts from the sewer. If your downspouts go directly into the ground, that means that every drop of rainwater that falls on your roof is going into the combined sewer system and can potentially end up in your basement, or your neighbor’s, during a heavy storm.
Disconnecting your downspouts is easy and can be done fairly quickly. Find instructions at the city’s website. Make sure to direct the water downhill away from your house and your neighbor’s home. A soggy backyard is preferable over a flooded basement.
If you would rather save that water for future use and reduce your yard watering needs, consider installing a rain barrel. After all, rain is free water.
The city will reimburse you up to $40 on the cost of a rain barrel purchased from selected retailers. Learn where to buy one and how to get the rebate at the city’s Sustainable Backyard website. The site also contains information on rebates for new trees and shrubs, native plants, and compost bins.
You can even have a rain barrel or two delivered to your home, with hook-up kit, by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for $58 each. Those MWRD rain barrels are also eligible for the 50% rebate from the city.
Finally, if you have a green thumb, consider installing a rain garden in your yard. Rain gardens help the water percolate into the ground
more quickly, and they can be attractive habitats for birds and other small creatures. Find more information about rain gardens at the city’s website.
By working together, we can reduce the frequency of sewer overflows into basements. I hope you’ll join me in that effort by disconnecting your downspouts from the sewer and installing a rain barrel.