No one attending last month’s public meeting at Lawton Elementary looked happy to be there. Nor were they happy about the prospect of holes being dug in their basement and front yard. “My wife and I have lived in our house 30 years and never had a drop of water in the basement,” one man said. “Do I really need this?”
Someone from Mrs. Szalay's kindergarten class at Lawton Elementary made this drawing, which hung in the school's hallway last month on the night of a public meeting at Lawton's gym. The picture's facial expression reflected the sentiment of some homeowners who attended.
“This” is a citywide program to disconnect the footing drains in all houses from the sanitary sewer system. And the answer to his question is “yes” – because the city mandates it.
Much like the sidewalk replacement program, the effort to disconnect footing drains will span several years. But unlike the sidewalk replacement, which homeowners must pay for, the city is reimbursing costs of the drain disconnect – at least for now.
The program started in 2001 as a way to deal with chronic sewer backups in basements of some residential neighborhoods, caused during storms when stormwater would flood that sewer system. In older homes, footing drains – which are designed to divert ground water away from a house’s foundation – were often connected to the sanitary sewer system. With heavy rains, the system didn’t have the capacity to handle the additional rainwater. Sewage would back up into basements through floor drains. It wasn’t pretty [Full Story]