The City’s Department of Public Work is accepting applications through the end of the year for its residential downspout disconnect program. The free program disconnects downspouts, caps the drainway and adds extensions. This ensures rainwater drains onto the lawn instead of entering the city sewer.
The South Bend Municipal Code(Section 17-4) requires all downspouts in the city to be disconnected by December 31, 2020 as part of the City’s Long-Term Control Plan. For more than a decade, the City has been helping its residents disconnect their downspouts; however,the last day to apply for the free program is December 31, 2018. After this date,residents will have to hire their own contractor and pay to have their downspouts disconnected. To sign up for the free downspout disconnect, visit southbendin.gov/freedisconnect or call 311.
Many homes, especially older ones, have downspouts (pipes that direct rainwater from the roof of a building to ground level) that are connected to the city’s sewer. When rainwater enters the sewers, it may cause a sewage overflow or localized flooding. Downspouts that tie into the sewers are typically connected to an ‘aged’ standpipe, which tends to be ceramic clay or concrete; whereas a disconnected downspout sends the rainwater onto the lawn or a flower bed on the homeowner’s property, where it gently percolates into the ground.
Disconnecting downspouts from the City’s sewer helps reduce basement flooding and improves water quality in our community’s streams and rivers. This is one of the many ways that the City is reducing the cost burden of the Long-Term Control Plan on its residents. As required by federal regulation, the City is currently implementing steps of the Long-Term Control Plan to upgrade its sewer system, to end combined sewer overflows and to improve its local water quality.