The Public Works Division of the Public Service Department is dedicated to providing quality and professional research, investigation and repair of the community’s sanitary sewer, stormwater and potable water systems in the most efficient manner possible.
The sanitary sewer system is comprised of underground pipes that carry sewage and grey water from toilets, showers, sinks, dishwashers, washing machines and other home or business plumbing components to a wastewater treatment plant, where it is filtered, treated and discharged. There are approximately 143 miles of public sanitary sewer lines in the City’s sanitary sewer system.
The City’s Public Service Department regularly cleans and inspects the public sanitary sewer lines in Upper Arlington. This work involves crews placing a special video camera into the sewer to inspect the lines for potential blockages caused by tree roots, grease build-up, etc. If crews identify any kind of blockage, the line is cleaned using a high-pressure water system. Much of sanitary sewer infrastructure is located in the rear easements of homes and may require access to back yards for maintenance and repair work.
On rare occasions, the high-pressure cleaning process can create a surge of air bubbles that travel into private laterals, causing water in your toilets to gurgle or even splash out of the bowl. Additionally, the cleaning process may cause an odor in your home which will fade once the cleaning process is complete. If you see our crews working on the sanitary sewer lines in your area, we recommended that you make sure all toilet seats and lids are down as a precaution.
If you ever experience water or sewer coming from the floor drain in your basement, please call the Public Service Department at 614-583-5350. For after-hour issues, please contact 614-583-5410.
The City’s stormwater system is separate from sanitary sewers and is primarily located under city streets, with some areas using ditches and streams for water runoff. The stormwater system collects rainwater runoff from rooftops, streets, yards and parking lots and discharges it to local rivers and streams.
The disposal of chemicals or hazardous substances to the storm sewer system damages the environment. Motor oil, cleaners, paints and other common household items that can get into storm drains poison fish, birds, and other wildlife, and may find their way into drinking water supplies. In addition, grass clippings, leaves, litter, and organic matter can clog storm drains and cause flooding.
The City’s stormwater system is made up of approximately 98 miles of varying-sized pipes, approximately 3,300 catch basins, 2,100 manholes, and 29 culverts and bridges. The Upper Arlington Public Service Department cleans and inspects the public storm sewer system and makes necessary repairs to broken storm pipe in the City’s right-of-way when needed.
A sanitary sewer backup is when water enters your home through the floor drain, usually located in the basement, connected to the sanitary sewer system. Backups can occur for multiple reasons, one common cause is an obstruction caused by tree roots or items that shouldn’t be flushed entering the pipe connecting your home to the main sewer. Others can be obstructions in the main sewer line or a system overload during periods of heavy rain. For those residents who experience a sanitary sewer backup during a rain event, the City has created a program to assist in identifying the cause of the issue and add measures to help prevent a future sanitary sewer backup.
BASEMENT FLOODING PREVENTION – UNDERSTANDING THE SOURCE
In Upper Arlington, the sanitary and storm systems are designed to operate separately – with grey water from residences & businesses discharging into the sanitary sewer system and rainwater & storm runoff discharging into the storm water system. Even though the systems are separate, rainwater can enter the sanitary sewer through cracks, root intrusion, and pipe joints; there may also be instances of inappropriate private installations, connecting sump pumps, downspouts, or other storm drains to the sanitary sewer.
When storm water has the ability to enter the sanitary pipes, this can cause the sanitary system to be overwhelmed during periods of intense rainfall. If you experience water entering your basement through the flood drain during a heavy rain event, it is likely due to storm water intrusion in the sanitary system. If the water is entering your home through the walls or foundation, this is more likely to be a sump pump failure or a blockage in your downspout lines.
If you believe the water has entered your home through the floor drain, it is important to contact the City’s Public Service Department as quickly as possible to ensure that the City’s main line is inspected (business hours – 614-583-5350; after-hours – 614-459-2800).
PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY & APPLICATION PROCESS
To participate in the City’s Backflow Prevention Program, homeowners will need to fill out a basement flooding questionnaire and have your property inspected by a plumber or qualified contractor to ensure that it meets the program eligibility requirements.
Following installation of a backflow preventer, it will be the homeowner’s responsibility to perform the recommended maintenance; maintenance requirements should be discussed with the contractor at the time of installation.
Stormwater management is the process of controlling and filtering runoff so it does not harm the environment or human health. In developed, urban areas, stormwater runoff comes primarily from impervious surfaces like parking lots, driveways, and rooftops.
Mandated by State law and enforced by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), the City of Upper Arlington’s Stormwater Management Plan (attached) is a comprehensive program designed to protect resources from damage caused by stormwater runoff, such as erosion, sedimentation and illicit discharges.
Did You Know – The City’s annual leaf collection program and semi-annual street sweeping efforts are both considered best management practices in the Stormwater Management Plan? These programs aim to reduce the amount of yard clippings, leaves and other debris from washing into storm drains, thereby reducing blockages and potential for flooding.
The Stormwater Utility fee ($22.50/six months or $45/annual) goes toward maintenance and improvements to the City’s stormwater systems.
- 2020 Sanitary and Storm Investigation Report (PDF 18MB)
- Sustainable Sewer Project Improvements Map 2017-2028 (PDF 551KB)
Options include installing a rain garden or hiring a contractor to install a small yard drain in the area where the water ponds and pipe it out to the street. Franklin County Soil & Water Conservation District may also offer other solutions: 1404 Goodale Blvd., Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212. Phone: 614-586-9613 or www.franklinswcd.org/backyard-conservation/
The benefits are not site specific. Run-off from your property combines with that from other lots, accumulating to become part of the problem downstream. Benefits are gained throughout the City by minimizing the flooding of roads, intersections, and downstream properties.
Pour several gallons of water in all basement floor drains, run water in any unused sinks and shower stalls, and flush any unused toilets. These fixtures should have built in traps (“U” shaped pipes), designed to hold water and act as a barrier to prevent sewer gases from entering the home.