Residents who have a sewer and sanitary backup should first call the Homewood Public Works Department at (708) 206-3470 to check the status of the Village's main sewers. If the problem is determined to be the resident's responsibility, the resident should refer to a licensed plumber. A list of licensed plumbers registered with the Village can be found here (link to Building Department list).
Residents should get three estimates before digging up a sewer. It is important to note that sewer problems usually are caused by roots and not by a collapsed pipe. If the blockage is caused by a tree in the parkway, the Public Works Department will not cut down a live tree if a homeowner is experiencing sewer problems.
How to deal with sewer backups
When a sewer backup requires immediate action, Public Works representatives are available to help residents determine the problem. Below are a few tips to help you deal with a sewer backup.
- Call the Homewood Public Works Department prior to contacting a plumber when you experience a sanitary sewer backup or when the problem seems to be caused from somewhere outside your home. A Public Works representative will be dispatched to check the main sanitary sewer line at no cost to you. The Public Works representative is there to assist you and to estimate the distance from your house to the main sanitary sewer line. This information will be useful if you need to call a plumber later.
- Be sure to ask your plumber to measure from the house line to the blockage.
- If the blockage is located in the main sewer line, Public Works will remedy the problem as quickly as possible.
- If the blockage occurs between the main sewer line and your house, you will be required to call a plumber to remove the blockage.
- Public Works suggests that you compare the prices, guarantees, availability and work experience of at least three licensed plumbers.
If the sanitary service (sanitary sewer running from the village maintained sanitary sewer to the house) is plugged, there can be back ups into the house. The sanitary service can back up for any of the following reasons: grease, waste, tree roots, breaks in the pipe and saturated ground.
Grease bonds to the sanitary pipe, which can restrict and ultimately cut off the sanitary service from the village owned sanitary main. Solution: Do not pour grease or other illegal substances down the drain, as they will eventually clog the sanitary service line.
If the sanitary service pipe is too small, or is partially clogged, the waste leaving the house from toilets, bathtubs, laundry rooms and dishwashers will back up into the house. This backup can usually be seen in the basement bathroom or laundry room.
Solution: Install an overhead sewer.
In old sanitary services, tree roots can begin to grow in the cracks of the pipe obstructing the flows from the house and reducing the capacity of the sanitary service.
Solution: Replace old sanitary services, pour tree root killer down the toilet each year, or have sewer professionally rodded.
Breaks in the pipe/saturated ground
When the ground around the sanitary service is saturated (after a heavy rain or in an area with ponding water), the rainwater can seep into the cracks in the pipe.
Solution: Replace the cracked sanitary services.
Collapsed sanitary service lines will prevent wastewater from the house from entering the Village-owned sanitary sewer.
Illegal connections resulting in storm water being discharged to the sanitary service line can overload the system during heavy rainfall events resulting in basement flooding.