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During heavy rain, every downspout on your home can send 12 gallons of water a minute to the sewer system, which increases the risk of basement backups and sewer overflows. Disconnect and help keep excess water out of sanitary sewers.
You do need enough green space in your yard to drain water into the ground naturally. You cannot create water problems for neighbors or icy conditions on sidewalks, driveways or roads. It's VERY important to check with your municipality to make sure you can legally disconnect and that you disconnect correctly.
Like many cities, the older portions of the City of Milwaukee’s sewer system carry both rain water, also known as clear water, and sanitary sewage in a combined sewer system to be treated by MMSD wastewater treatment plants. A large source of clear water within the combined sewer is from rain that falls on your roof and is collected by downspouts that are directly connected to the sewer system. During rainstorms, this additional clear water can overwhelm sewer pipes and MMSD's treatment plant which can lead to street flooding, basement sewage backups, and sewage overflows directly into our neighboring waterways.
In an effort to reduce the amount of clear water that enters the combined sewer system during rain events, MMSD created legislation requiring the disconnection of residential roof downspouts from within the combined sewer service area. In order to comply with this rule, the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW) in collaboration with the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) has begun the Milwaukee Downspout Disconnection Program. Check out the DPW tool to see if your home is in the combined sewer service area and read the Downspout Disconnection Program frequently asked questions and incentive program.
Contact your city or village to find out if you can legally disconnect.
Measure 9" from where the downspout enters the sewer connection.
Cut the downspout with a hacksaw.
Cap the sewer pipe coming out of the ground. In most
cases, you should be able to use a simple rubber cap secured by hose
clamp. You can also use a wing-nut test plug.
the downspout INTO the elbow (if you put the elbow into the downspout,
it will leak). You may need to crimp the end of the downspout with a
pair of pliers to get a good fit.
Attach a downspout pipe extension to carry water
away from the house and foundation. You can use a hacksaw to cut the
extension to the desired length. Be sure to insert the elbow into the
extension to prevent leaks. Secure the elbow and extension with sheet
metal screws. To prevent erosion where the water drains, you can place a
splash block at the end of the downspout extension.