Residential Sewer Backup Prevention Program

Program Overview

When the City’s sanitary sewer system becomes overburdened during a large rain event, wastewater can flow back into your home’s building sewer from the public sewer main. When this occurs, wastewater may enter your home through the lowest plumbing fixture, which is usually a floor drain or sink in the basement.

To prevent this from happening, the City of Wheaton offers the Residential Sewer Backup Prevention Program for single-family homes. Property owners may qualify for reimbursement of 50%, up to $3,000, of the eligible costs of installing an overhead sewer to protect their basement/lower level from sanitary sewer backups.


To qualify for partial reimbursement for the installation of an overhead sewer, the property owner must comply with the mandatory program conditions as stated in this packet. The City will not waive these conditions. Wheaton residents are not obligated to participate in the reimbursement program. However, residents may elect to have an overhead sewer installed independent of this program without reimbursement, subject to compliance with all applicable laws, codes, and ordinances.

Please Note: The City reserves the right to modify the policies, procedures, and rules of this program or discontinue the program in its entirety as determined by the City Manager or as a result of action by the Wheaton City Council.


Overhead Sewer: An overhead sewer consists of an ejector pit, ejector pump, and backflow valve. All plumbing drains in the basement are directed to the new ejector pit and pumped into the building drain. The sealed connection and backflow valve prevent any backflow from the City sanitary sewer from discharging into the basement.

Foundation Drain: Foundation drains consist of the drain (tile) pipe that is installed around the outside perimeter of your house and drains into a sump pit inside your home, which is then pumped to the outside. Once outside, the sump drain pipe can discharge to grade (at least 10 feet from the property line), discharge into a dry well or discharge into an underground storm pipe that connects to the City storm sewer. (A permit is required for this work.) Please note: Some homes may have a foundation drain that is illegally connected to the building drain (inside the home) or an illegal foundation drain connected to the building sewer (outside the home).

Program Participation Checklist

  • Step 1: The property owner must call the Sewer Division at 630-260-2121 or email to let the City know you’d like to participate in this program. City staff will determine whether your property is eligible to participate in this program.
  • Step 2: If City staff determines you are eligible for this program, the next step is for you to hire a state licensed plumber. The plumber must prepare drawings and provide a written proposal that details the scope of work.
  • Step 3: Either you or plumber must apply for and obtain a permit from the City’s Building and Code Enforcement Department. Submit the following documents:
    • Permit application
    • Copies of plan of plumbing before and after
    • The ejector pump manufacturer’s specifications and catalog sheets
    • Copy of State of Illinois plumber’s license
    • Letter of intent on the plumber’s letterhead
    • Permit fees
    • Cost estimate for: A) abandoning building drain below basement floor and raising the building drain to ceiling of basement, B) reconfiguring building sewer outside of foundation, per Sketch B.
    • Retain a copy of the drawings and proposal for your personal records.
  • Step 4: After the Building and Code Enforcement Department issues a permit, the plumber will perform the work and have inspections performed by the City, as required by the City Building and Code Enforcement Department.
  • Step 5: You are responsible for paying the full amount of the plumber invoice upon completion of the work, according to any agreements made with the plumber.
    Note: Paid receipt or canceled check is required with request for reimbursement.
  • Step 6: Submit your reimbursement request (maximum reimbursement of $3,000) with the following items to the Public Works Department:
    • Request for Reimbursement Form
    • Property Owner Participation Agreement
    • Copy of contractor’s itemized invoice
    • Copy of approved City permit
    • Copy of inspection report
    • Copy of paid receipt or canceled check to verify proof of payment to contractor
  • Step 7: The Director of Public Works will review the Request for Reimbursement and, if in conformance with this policy, will certify the eligible improvement costs. The Director of Public Works will request the reimbursement amount from the Finance Department, and the Finance Department will issue payment to you.

About This Program

When the City’s sanitary sewer system becomes overburdened during a large rain event, wastewater can flow back into your home’s building sewer from the public sewer main. When this occurs, wastewater may enter your home through the lowest plumbing fixture, which is usually a floor drain or sink in the basement. See Sketch A below.


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For homes that have experienced a basement backup during a large rain event, the City recommends the installation of an overhead sewer to protect their basement from future backups (see Sketch B on the following page). An overhead sewer diverts all of the building drains in the basement to an ejector pit, and the wastewater is pumped to a higher elevation building drain.


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A properly installed plumbing system allows all plumbing fixtures above grade to drain by gravity out of buildings with all basement fixtures routed to an overhead sewer ejector basin, which is then pumped into the building drain.

When an overhead sewer is installed and the sanitary sewer system becomes overburdened, the overhead sewer configuration reduces the possibility of wastewater flowing back into the basement. The overhead sewer system will also allow property owners to use basement-level plumbing fixtures while the sanitary sewer system is overburdened.

How do I qualify?

In order to participate in this program, the property must have experienced a sanitary sewer backup during a significant rainfall event as a result of the City sewers overloading. The Director of Public Works may also designate a property eligible if the property is located in an area that historically is susceptible to City sewer overloading. The likelihood of future backups is based on the configuration of the City sewer system, building sewer, building drain and interior plumbing.

To determine if you qualify, contact the Sewer Division at 630-260-2107 or 630-260-2121 or email The property must be connected to the City-owned and maintained sanitary sewer system to be eligible.

Note: Property owners installing an overhead sewer as part of a remodel or addition (WCC Sec. 22-7) must comply with all criteria listed above in order to be considered for this program.

Are other backflow prevention devices eligible for reimbursement?
No. The City is only reimbursing for the installation of overhead sewer systems.

Eligible Costs

Costs Eligible for Reimbursement:
(Maximum reimbursement not to exceed $3,000)

  • Cost of locating, excavation and exposure of the building sewer line, including support of existing structures for re-connection of a new overhead sewer to the existing building sewer.
  • Cost of an ejector pit, ejector pump and associated electrical and plumbing work needed to lift wastewater from the basement plumbing fixtures to the building drain.
  • Cost of trenching and concrete floor repairs (including cutting of concrete and excavating for ejector pit)
  • Cost of grass seeding to restore disrupted grass/lawns
  • Battery backup system for the new overhead sewer
  • Applicable permit fees
  • Installation of sump pit, sump pump, and piping to the outside of home

Costs Not Eligible for Reimbursement:

  • Removal and replacement of interior walls and finishes
  • Use of materials not meeting the requirements of the City’s guide specifications or City codes
  • Ancillary property owner improvements not necessary to provide backup protection of the basement
  • Planting or replacement of new landscaping (bushes, trees, sod, fences, walls, etc.) other than grass seed
  • New electrical panels and/or upgrading the house’s electrical supply

Reimbursement is intended to be available for each property up to the reimbursement limits. Change of property ownership does not reset full reimbursement eligibility.

Mandatory Conditions To Qualify For Permit

All work performed under this program shall meet all applicable requirements of the Wheaton City Codes including, but not limited to, Illinois Plumbing Code, National Electric Code, and ICC – International Residential Building Code, latest editions adopted by the City. The property owner shall secure from the contractor a minimum of a three-year warranty on all workmanship. The equipment provided shall have the equipment manufacturer warranty available to the property owner. All applicable manufacturer-recommended maintenance information for both pumps and valves shall be provided to the property owner.

The property owner shall provide the Building and Code Enforcement Department with as-built drawings depicting final installation conditions. Drawings may be sketches that are not to scale but that show actual dimensions of the installation relative to the house. Drawings shall be accompanied with applicable specifications and manufacturer catalog information on all valve and pump units.

All plumbing shall be performed by a State of Illinois licensed plumbing contractor. Plumbing contractors may also have to be bonded and insured if working on public property. All-electric contractors shall be registered and bonded With the City. All contractors shall provide a current copy of their license to the City prior to commencing work.

Property owners may exceed these minimum requirements and are encouraged to install an overhead sewer designed to match the characteristics of their home.

  1. The foundation/footing drain shall be disconnected from building drain and all water must be disposed of according to the Wheaton City Code, if applicable.
  2. The building sewer (outside the home) shall allow for proper drainage and comply with the Wheaton City Code.
  3. PVC Schedule 40 pipe is permitted for use underground and inside the building.
  4. The overhead sewer system shall provide a clean-out on the building sewer, typically located 5 to 10 feet away from foundation.
  5. Where manufactured pipe joints cannot be utilized or where dissimilar materials are joined, "non-shear" type couplings shall be used for connections.
  6. The ejector basin shall have a minimum capacity of 33 gallons.
  7. All ejector basins shall be heavy-duty fiberglass, or black plastic polyethylene, cast iron or concrete basin with a heavy-duty gasketed cover. (Lightweight PVC ejector pits are not permitted).
  8. The ejector pump shall be a submersible pump.
  9. The ejector pump shall be capable of pumping a minimum of 25 gallons per minute at 15 feet of total dynamic head.
  10. The ejector pump shall be capable of passing 1-inch solids.

Property Owner Participation Agreement
City of Wheaton Residential Sewer Backup Prevention Program

The Residential Sewer Backup Prevention Program was established by the City of Wheaton to assist residents in protecting their homes from sanitary sewer backups that may occur during heavy rain events. The program provides for 50% reimbursement of eligible costs up to a maximum of $3,000.

Prior to the installation of any plumbing facilities for which the property owner anticipates reimbursement, the specific plans, including the written proposal, must be submitted to the Building and Code Enforcement Department for approval. No work can be commenced until City approval is obtained and a permit is issued. The City must be notified to inspect the plumbing and electric work, as required under any permit.

Reimbursement of eligible items at approved amounts will be made after work is completed, inspected and approved by the City. A completed “Request for Reimbursement” form must be completed and submitted with other documentation, such as the detailed invoice and a copy of the canceled check (both sides) providing evidence that the project was paid for, in full, by the property owner.

The City shall have no liability for any defective work or other damage, injury and/or loss on account of any act or omission of the contractor in the performance of the work. The property owner shall make any claim for such matters directly against the contractor or contractor’s insurance carrier. The property owner hereby agrees to indemnify and hold the City harmless against any and all claims and further covenants not to sue the City for any and all claims.

While the program is designed to substantially reduce the risk of basement backups, there is always some risk of basement backup as a result of unexpected sewer collapse, obstruction, power failure, mechanical failure, extreme environmental conditions or other unforeseen factors. Properly operating foundation drains are necessary to prevent seepage of groundwater through walls below grade.

In addition, reliable, continuous functioning of property owner’s sump pump(s) is necessary for overhead sewers and foundation drains to function properly. The property owner has the responsibility to check the operation of the pumps and valves regularly and perform maintenance as required by the manufacturer. The property owner is responsible for all testing, inspections and any corrective work. The City recommends that the property owners install a battery backup system to provide protection during a power failure. The costs of a battery backup system are eligible for reimbursement as part of the program. If the property owner fails to comply with all requirements of this agreement or to complete installation as provided in this agreement, the City has no obligation to reimburse the property owner.

I understand and agree with all of the above statements and agree to comply accordingly.

Property Owner (Print Name)



Property Address


Revised 11/2/2018