Village of Arlington Heights

Prevent Basement Backup


Preventing Basement Backup

If your home was constructed prior to 1975, it is probably not constructed with an overhead sewer system.

Overhead sewers became a code requirement in 1975 and provide the only certain protection against sewer backup. Sewer backups can occur due to heavy rain flows into sewers or are occasionally caused by a blockage.

So what are overhead sewers? The term refers to the relative height of your sewer service line exiting your home when standing in your basement or lower level. In general, overhead sewers exit the home at eye level or above within the basement or lower level. If your lower level or basement has floor drains, a utility sink or sump pump, these flows are pumped up and into the building sewer service.

If you do not have overhead sewers, the sewer service line generally exits your home at knee height or lower, often below the floor level. Floor drains and sump pits flow by gravity into the sewer line and therein lies the exposure to basement sewer backups. The elevation of the building sewer makes the slope to the Village’s main sewer line flatter and when the Village sewer fills up, it is much more prone to backup through floor drains into your home. With overhead plumbing, the sewer backup will spill onto the ground before it reaches the level of the pipe exiting your home. Even if it does back up into the building sewer pipes, a properly installed and sealed system should not leak into your home.

If you have ever experienced a basement backup, you know that the restoration and cleanup costs can be substantial. Since 2006, the Village has offered a reimbursement program to assist homeowners with the cost of overhead sewer installation. The program is administered through the Village Building Services and eligible work is 50% reimbursable up to $7,500 per home.

The application process is simple and a rebate is given upon completion of two steps, which include: (download Sewer Back-up Rebate Program)
  1. A review of the proposed improvements as described in the application process to ensure they conform with the program and meet standard construction practices and building code requirements;
  2. A verification of inspections and approval of the completed improvements by Building Services as well as proof of property ownership and payment of project costs by the property owner.
To keep prices reasonable and consistent, the Village’s Building Services will maintain a list of authorized registered contractors who will participate in this Sanitary Sewer Flood Prevention Rebate Program.  In no way does the Village of Arlington Heights guarantee the work performed by these contractors.  The Village offers this list as a service to the applicants.  Applicants may choose a contractor from this list or any other properly licensed contractor of their choice.

Homeowners interested in taking advantage of this assistance are asked to carefully review information about the program before applying for the Sanitary Sewer Flood Prevention Rebate Program. If you have questions about this program, please call the Village’s Plumbing Inspector at 847.368.5560.

Sewer Back-Up Rebate Program



Site Map | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | RSS | Download Acrobat

© 2009 Village of Arlington Heights. All Rights Reserved. | Site design and development by
For website questions please contact Nancy Kluz, Community Relations Coordinator