Why Should I disconnect?
During a heavy storm, each downspout on your home can deliver 12 gallons a minute to the sewer system, which can contribute to basement backups and sewer overflows. By simply disconnecting a downspout, you can make a difference in keeping excess water out of the sewer system.
Who Should Disconnect?
Downspouts that are connected to the combined sewer system and any downspouts illegally connected to the sanitary sewer.
*It's VERY important to check with your municipality to make sure you can legally disconnect and that you disconnect correctly.
All you need are a few supplies:
- tape measure
- screw driver
- sheet metal screws
- downspout elbow
- downspout extension
- splash block (optional)
- rubber cap
Total cost per downspout should be less than $15.00
Step 1: Contact Your Municipality
In the City Of Milwaukee:
To find out if your home is connected to the combined sewer call: 286-2480
To find out if you can legally disconnect call: 286-3361
Measure 9" from where the downspout enters the sewer connection.
Cut the downspout with a hacksaw.
Cap the sewer standpipe. This prevents water from going in. In most cases, you should be able to use a simple rubber cap secured by hose clamp. You can also use a wing-nut test plug if available cap sizes don't fit.
Insert the downspout INTO the elbow (if you put the elbow into the downspout, it will leak). You may need to crimp the end of the downspout with a pair of pliers to get a good fit.
Attach a downspout pipe extension to carry water away from the house and foundation. You can use a hacksaw to cut the extension to the desired length. Be sure to insert the elbow into the extension to prevent leaks. Secure the elbow and extension with sheet metal screws. To prevent erosion where the water drains, you can place a splash block at the end of the downspout extension.
You're In Good Company
Across the country, cities have mandated that residents disconnect their downspouts from the sewer system. In Portland, Oregon, tens of thousands of homes disconnected, removing more than a million gallons of water from the sewerage system. That's valuable extra capacity and a very important step in reducing residential flooding. Disconnecting also helps keep our waterways clean by reducing the risk of a sewer overflow. For more information on similar programs and their successes, visit these Web sites:
Vancouver, Canada www.cityfarmer.info
Toronto, Canada www.city.toronto.on.ca
Portland, Oregon www.portlandonline.com
Chicago, Illinois www.cityofchicago.org