FDD Homeowner Information Packet (Summary Below)
WHAT IS FOOTING DRAIN DISCONNECTION?
As shown on Figure 1, footing drains are small (4-inch diameter), perforated drainage pipes located near the foundation of your house. They are intended to keep rainwater that seeps through the ground from building up along the foundation or basement walls. In many homes, the downspouts, which carry rainwater from the gutters, discharge near the foundation walls. This water drains through the soils and into the footing drains. In most homes constructed before the 1980s, the footing drains are connected to the house sanitary connection (house lead) as shown in the figure below. This house lead carries the footing drain flow and wastewater from the house to the sanitary sewer system.
When it is not raining this is not normally a problem, but during a severe storm event too much rainwater can enter the sanitary sewer system. This excess flow can cause the mixture of rainwater and wastewater to backup in the house lead of some homes and cause basement backups.
Figure 1 – Pre-construction Conditions
Footing drain disconnection is performed to remove the rainwater flows from the sanitary sewer system. This is done by disconnecting the footing drains from the house sanitary lead and installing a sump pump to move water from the footing drains into the storm water system. There may be some alternatives to sending the flow into the storm water system in some neighborhoods or homes. The creation of rain gardens or use of low areas in backyards are possibilities. A priority is placed on safe disposal of the storm water. For the vast majority of homes the connection to the sanitary house lead is inside the basement, and the sump is installed in the basement as shown in Figure 2 below.
In homes that have experienced basement backups or are at risk for basement backup, the city can provide funding to install check valves to keep water from flowing back into the home from the sanitary sewer system.
Figure 2 – Basement Sump Construction
WHY DISCONNECT FOOTING DRAINS?
The purpose of disconnecting footing drains is to keep rainwater out of the sanitary sewer system. During dry weather, the sanitary system has plenty of capacity to carry wastewater. In neighborhoods where footing drains are connected to the sanitary system, however, rainwater can overfill the sanitary system during heavy storms resulting in the rainwater/wastewater mix backing up into basements. Keeping rainwater out of the house ‘lead’ greatly reduces the amount of rainwater getting into the sanitary system, which protects downstream residents and reduces costs at the wastewater treatment plant. It also frees the house connection to carry wastewater to the sanitary system.
All homes built in the City of Ann Arbor since January of 1982 have disconnected downspouts and footing drains with sump pumps in the basements or with gravity discharge leads to a storm water system. Surface discharge of downspouts allows more rainwater from roofs to be absorbed by the ground and reduces the amount of water being treated and released into the Huron River.
Footing drain disconnection has the following advantages:
- Protects homeowners who have had sanitary backups during severe storm events.
- Takes rainwater out of the sanitary system, reducing problems for downstream residents and eliminating treatment costs for the rainwater.
- Preserves natural features and protects watershed by minimizing undesirable discharges to the Huron River.
- Provides short-term and long-term protection for those at risk.
- Provides the lowest rate impact of all the possible solutions.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT MY HOME?
After you receive this homeowner information packet, you should contact the FDD Construction Manager (see page 9 for contact information) to arrange for the initial assessment at your home. This will be an excellent opportunity to ask specific questions about your home, and to learn more about the steps of the program. Next, you will choose from a list of pre-qualified contractors, obtain estimates and arrange a contract. (See page 9 for a list of the contractors) The actual construction work should take from 1 to 3 days of in-home construction. Construction photos are available on the project website www.a2fdd.com.
Curb drain installation work has most likely already been performed by a city hired contractor in the lawn extension area between the curb and sidewalk. The contractor installed a 6-inch diameter pipe with individual connections for each house that will collect the flows from sump pumps in individual homes and direct it to the storm sewer. Lastly the area that was disturbed was restored with new grass seeding and occasionally sidewalk or driveway aprons were replaced.
Initial Assessment will be conducted by the FDD Construction Manager with the homeowner and will include actions to:
- Determine if your footing drains are connected
- Identify possible locations for sump pump installation
- Assess site drainage options, including identification of any needed changes in downspout connections.
- Assess options for installation of sump discharge lead (piping) to an approved discharge location.
Inside work will be confined to the basement and will include:
- Removal of a section of the basement floor to access pipes and install the sump. Disconnection of the footing drains from the house lead and routing of new discharge lines.
- Installation of a new electrical circuit.
- Installation of the sump and sump pump. The sump is typically 24 inches in diameter and 30 inches deep. The cover is sealed and level with the basement floor.
- Repairs to the work area (i.e., replacing concrete, tiles, etc.)
- For homes that have previously experienced basement backup or those deemed to be at-risk for basement backup, installation of check valves on all plumbing fixtures located in the basement or a single check valve to protect all facilities in the basement.
- Clean up of the work area.
Work in the yard includes:
- Installation of a small pipe to carry footing drain water from the sump pump to a rainwater collection system or an approved alternative.
- Cleanup and restoration of any areas impacted by the installation.
WHAT WILL IT COST? HOW IS IT FUNDED?
The City will provide funding for the ‘core’ work up to $4,100 for a typical household. Exceptional circumstances within a household may warrant payment beyond the $4,100. Prior to signing a contract, a homeowner may request additional city support which will require competitive estimates from 2 different contractors. This request will be reviewed and may be approved by the City Project Manager and, if necessary, the City Administrator.) Financing for this project comes from sewer use fees. Items funded include:
- Parts and labor for standard sump and pump installation
- Parts and labor for discharge pipes
- Basic restoration of interior and exterior work areas including lawn reseeding and if necessary restoring the floor, ceiling surface or drywall patching.
The Homeowner will be responsible for the following costs where applicable:
- Additional features or restoration beyond what is required for basic installation and items classified as home improvements or exceed building code requirements (i.e. replacement of inadequate electrical service panel, construction of new enclosure for sump, etc.)
- Backup Sump Pump - In the event of a power failure, the primary sump pump will not function. This can result in groundwater collecting around the outside of your basement walls and floor where it can seep through cracks in the concrete or through the sump lid. The plumbing contractors can install, at the homeowner’s expense, either battery or water-powered backup pumps that will operate during an electrical failure or if your primary pump fails. You need to assess your desire for this additional level of protection as only you can understand the impacts moisture would have on your belongings in your basement, and the frequency of power failures in your neighborhood. Based on our experience with power failures during storm events, homeowners are advised to strongly consider the need for a backup system. (See questions 20-23 in the Frequently Asked Questions section for additional information)
- Long-term maintenance
- Homeowner pays all costs plus a monthly surcharge if the work is not completed within 90 days after receiving the 90-day notice to disconnect (see required timing below)
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
As a homeowner please review and complete the steps below to aid in a reliable and trouble free disconnection.
- Become informed by reviewing the supplied materials in this packet and attending the scheduled neighborhood meeting.
- Arrange an in-home assessment with a Construction Manager to determine the need for a disconnection, discuss your options for getting the work done and get all your questions answered.
- Review the list of pre-qualified contractors (page 9) and make an appointment with one or more to receive an estimate of costs for the work to be done in your home.
- Review costs that are reimbursable by the City and identify any additional options you may want or need to contract for at your personal expense.
- Submit the necessary forms to secure funding pre-approval to the Construction Manager.
- Form 1 –Reaffirms that you understand that the contractor you hire is responsible for the work done at your property not the city of Ann Arbor. This is required of every homeowner.
- Form 2 – This is only needed if the estimated cost exceeds the limit of $4,100. Two estimates will be needed from different contractors for funding pre-approval above the $4,100 limit.
- When funding has been pre-approved the construction management staff will notify you by phone.
- Ensure that the footing drain disconnection work gets completed properly:
- Arrange a contract to get the work done with your selected contractor.
- Discuss scheduling and basement preparation with the contractor.
- Clear the work area so that the contractor can perform the work. (Contractor will provide specifics). If desired, add additional dust protection to exposed areas.
- Monitor the work underway to ensure it meets your contract agreements. Consult the Construction Manager if help is needed. The contractor will arrange for city building inspections to occur during the work.
- Review finished work with the contractor to ensure you understand maintenance and operations of your system.
- Host a walkthrough with the Construction Manager to ensure that all work has been completed according to code and according to your contract. If all work has been completed as contracted, the city will issue payment to the contractor for the pre-approved amount.
- Provide written feedback on the contractor and the overall project to the City.
WHEN DO I NEED TO COMPLETE THIS WORK?
The city and the construction management team work actively with property owners to ensure that all requirements of this program are understood and that construction occurs in timely manner. This packet is the first outreach to homeowners. Within the next two months, any homeowners who have not initiated a contract to disconnect will receive a courtesy reminder. If no action is taken following that reminder, property owners will then receive a certified letter from the city. By city ordinance, property owners are mandated to complete the disconnection of their footing drains within 90 days of receiving a certified letter from the city. If the disconnection is not completed by the end of the 90-days the homeowners risk losing city funding for the work and possibly a surcharge on their sewer bill of $100 per month for unmetered sewage entering the system. If adjustments need to be made to the mandated timing for completion, please communicate directly with the Construction Manager to review the unique circumstances in your home.
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