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Footing Drains

Footing Drain Disconnect Program
A new group is forming in a nearby neighborhood - Ann Arbor Underwater.

In 2000 and 2001, the City studied the problem of storm water overwhelming our waste water system. In the past, the City allowed builders to connect building drain tiles to the waste water system. Over time, the influx of storm water into the waste water system caused sewage to be discharged into the river during severe weather events. Another problem arising from the connection of drain tiles to the sewage system was frequent sewage back ups into basements.

The City considered three methods to address the problems associated with using the waste water system for storm water. The City decided to require disconnecting the footing drains (ie, the drain tiles beneath your home) from the sewer system and using sump pumps to push that water into the storm water system. One reason a sump pump is necessary is that when the City installed its storm system, the underground pipes were situated at a depth higher than the drain tiles beneath your home.

Unfortunately, opening up a hole in your basement floor for the sump pump means there is nothing between the water in your drain tiles and the interior of your basement. If for any reason, the sump pump does not work or the flow of water from the pump to the storm water system is hindered, your basement fills with water.

In the neighborhoods surrounding Lawton Elementary School, south of Scio-Church Road, the storm system has been inadequate for years. In 1997, the City commissioned a study of the storm system in those neighborhoods and found that it was inadequate for the then existing needs. Since that study, additional development was permitted which added to the load on the storm system. Additionally, we are experiencing more severe weather events, more frequently.

While a few homes in the Lawton neighborhoods had experienced sewage backups, that problem was not common. Nonetheless, the City determined that it should redirect the storm water from the sewer system in that area to the already overburdened storm system. Think about it. If the disconnect program adds just 2% more water to the storm system that is already beyond capacity, it means that the storm system is even further beyond capacity (ie: 100% plus 2% equals 102%).

If you try to pump water into a pipe that is already full, you will get a back up. If the design of the overflow system does not work, then that water just accumulates in your basement. And that is where the Lawton neighbors find themselves. Basements that did not have water problems before the disconnect program, now flood.

Why should this concern us? The neighborhoods north of Scio-Church Road have also been required to participate in the drain disconnect program. If you have had problems since the installation of your sump pump, contact us or go to their site and contact them. They are interested in hearing of problems caused by the footing drain disconnect program.