It's Raining In Lakewood: Where Does Your Rooftop Runoff Go? | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

It’s Raining In Lakewood: Where Does Your Rooftop Runoff Go?

February 10, 2016

Lakewood, a city of homes with very little undeveloped property, may find the key to sewer improvements in our own backyards, driveways and roof drains.

When homes have roof drains or foundation drains connected to a sanitary sewer line, groundwater and rainwater add unnecessary water volume to the sewer system. Additionally, when sewer pipes on the individual’s property are cracked, ground water leaches in, adding another source of unnecessary water to Lakewood wastewater treatment plant’s load.

A significant volume of water in Lakewood’s sanitary sewer system comes from private property. The sources include leaking house laterals and improperly connected roof and foundation drains. The city of Ann Arbor found that 70 to 90 percent of total sanitary sewer flow, in some portions of their system, was coming from footing drains during storm events, according to the city’s 2001 Sanitary Sewer Overflow Prevention Study.

To quantify flow from private property, 102 homes in a pilot area on Delaware, Atkins and Eldred Avenues have been investigated to see if their homes are improperly connected, and if their pipes are cracked and broken. Nearly all of the homes in this pilot study had some broken or improperly connected pipes. After the homes are properly connected by this spring, flows going into storm and sewer drains will be re-measured and compared to pre-construction flows, to determine how significant of a reduction has occurred.

There are several overflow locations throughout the city.

Some of Lakewood’s sewer overflows might be nearly eliminated if each property was connected so that their roofs and foundation drains were connected to the storm pipe, not the sanitary, and the property had sewer lines that weren’t cracked. When planning home renovations you may also consider understanding the stormwater flow off of your property and ensuring proper connections.

Other ways homeowners can reduce the volume of water going into sanitary sewer lines is by:

  • Installing low-flow showers, washers, dishwashers, and toilets
  • During a rain event, don’t add additional water into the sewer system; refrain from running dishwasher, clothes washer, or shower
  • Add practices to your home where rain can infiltrate or be stored for later use (i.e. rain barrels, bio-swales and pervious pavement)

Residents interested in more information can visit the webpage or contact the Mayor’s office: 529-6600;