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Program Goals

Do you get water in your basement? Do you find yourself cleaning your lateral out every year? We can help!

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage Districts’ (MMSD) Pipe Check program provides financial incentives to help homeowners cover a portion of the costs to eliminate clear water from entering the sanitary lateral, therefore decreasing the risk of a basement backup.

Water in your basement can be caused by rain or groundwater, also known as clear water, overwhelming your sanitary lateral pipe causing sewage and water to back up in your basement. Sources of clear water include connected downspouts and foundation drains, and defects in your sanitary lateral such as roots. All of these sources increase the likelihood of basement backups.

Improvements in your home’s sewer pipes, which connect to the greater sewer system, will help MMSD reduce the risk of basement backups for you, your neighbors, and prevent overflows into Lake Michigan.

The first step in participating in the Pipe Check program is calling an Approved Contractor.

Are you a contractor looking for information on the Pipe Check program? If so, please visit our contractor page.

To learn more about the sources of clear water and the risk they cause to your home’s sewer pipes, check out this video courtesy of Victoria Capitol Region District (CRD).

What are the Participation Requirements?

Participants must meet the following requirements to participate in the Pipe Check program:

  • Property is located within the MMSD service area
  • Home is an owner-occupied one or two-family home
  • No income requirement to participate
  • A Clear Water Evaluation is completed by an Approved Contractor
  • W‐9 is submitted to MMSD. (Note: The value of the financial incentive is taxable. MMSD will provide 1099 at the end of the year.)
  • Participation waiver must be signed by the homeowner
  • An Approved Contractor completes all the required work identified in the Clear Water Evaluation

What is a Clear Water Evaluation?

Completed by an Approved Contractor, a Clear Water Evaluation identifies sources of rain or groundwater entering the sanitary sewer system from private property. The maximum financial incentive available to the homeowner is based on the findings of the Clear Water Evaluation.

During the Clear Water Evaluation, the contractor identifies the discharge locations of existing foundation drains, sump pumps, and rain gutter downspouts. If any of these items discharge into the sanitary sewer, they will need to be disconnected and rerouted to a building code-approved location in order to qualify for the financial incentives.

How does the Pipe Check program work?

  1. Homeowner contacts an Approved Contractor.
  2. Approved Contractor completes a site visit paid by the homeowner and the Approved Contractor completes Clear Water Evaluation.
  3. The contractor reviews the Clear Water Evaluation with the homeowner and identifies the work required to be completed to receive the financial incentives.
  4. If the homeowner agrees to the identified work and their portion of the total costs, the homeowner can choose to sign a contract with the Approved Contractor to have the work completed. The homeowner will be required to fill out a W-9 to participate in the pipe check program as the financial incentive is taxable.
  5. The full scope of work is completed to the satisfaction of the homeowner and the requirements of the Pipe Check program.
  6. The Pipe Check program pays the Pipe Check Incentives directly to the Approved Contractor.
  7. The Pipe Check Approved Contractor bills the homeowner the remaining portion of the work, per the requirements of the contract.
  8. The homeowner pays the Approved Contractor the remaining amount due.
  9. MMSD will send participating homeowners a 1099 at the end of the calendar year.

Questions? Please email our team at PipeCheckInfo@mmsd.com or call us at (414) 225-2250

What is an Approved Contractor?

An Approved Contractor is selected by MMSD through an assessment of their technical skills, experience, and customer service which qualify them to participate in the program. An Approved Contractor needs to be used by the homeowner to receive the financial incentives. When calling make sure to mention the Pipe Check program.

Who Are the Approved Contractors?

Gene Wagner Plumbing Co., Inc.


2017 S. 60th Street Milwaukee, WI 53219

Mid City Corporation


12930 W. Custer Ave. Butler, WI 53007

Milwaukee Plumbing & Piping, Inc.


11800 West Greenfield Avenue West Allis, WI 53214

MJ Construction Inc.


6000 N 91st St, Milwaukee, WI 53225

Mr. Rooter


2524 76th Street Franksville, WI 53126

What are the financial incentives and how does it work?

The financial incentives provide homeowners a reduction in cost to complete critical private property infrastructure repairs, but will not cover the full cost of the work that will be completed. The total cost of the work is dependent on the existing conditions within the home, the length of your lateral, and the chosen repair method implemented. Your chosen approved contractor will provide you an estimate for the cost of the work required to be completed under the program prior to signing a contract with the approved contractor. All costs above the value of the provided financial incentive will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

The Pipe Check approved contractor will complete all documentation required by the program and all financial incentives shall be paid directly to your chosen contractor. The financial incentives will be deducted from your total due to the contractor at the completion of the work.

Approved Project Type
MMSD Financial Incentive
Foundation Drain Disconnection - Install sump pump & discharge piping, disconnect foundation drain from sanitary sewer lateral, and remove existing palmer valve.
Remove Palmer Valve, Only - Identify the location of palmer valve, remove existing palmer value, cap foundation drain, and restore the site.
Reroute Existing Sump Pump Discharge - Disconnect existing sump pump discharge piping and reroute to a building code approved location.
New Storm Lateral, Connected to Existing Storm Sewer - A new storm lateral is installed from the house to an existing storm sewer.
Disconnect Downspout - Disconnect existing gutter downspouts from the sanitary sewer and reroute to discharge in the yard or storm lateral (max of 4).
$25 per downspout
Full Lateral Replacement - A full lateral replacement from the house to the sanitary main is completed via open cut or pipe bursting
$4,000 - $5,000
Lateral Lining - A cured in place pipe (CIPP) is installed in the lateral from under the home to the connection at the sanitary sewer mainline.

Is there additional funding to help cover the costs?

There are several local programs for low-income homeowners that offer partially forgivable and/or zero interest loans to address essential home repairs and code violations. MMSD is not affiliated with these loan programs and does not guarantee loan approval. Please visit the website associated with each loan assistance program to see if you are eligible to participate and learn how to apply. Participation in these programs does not exclude you from receiving financial incentives through the Pipe Check program.

Milwaukee County Home Repair Program: Pipe check cannot currently be paired with this home repair loan program. The Housing Division offers no interest loans to income qualified homeowners in the suburban communities of Milwaukee County, excluding the Cities of Milwaukee and West Allis. The loans can cover a wide range of repairs required to maintain a home and can also be used for emergency repairs relating to health and safety and municipal citations. Learn more.

City of Milwaukee - Strong Homes Loan Program: The STRONG Homes Loan Program offers loans of up to $20,000 to owner-occupants of 1-4 family properties throughout the City of Milwaukee on a first-come, first-served basis. Technical assistance will be provided to homeowners under the program to assist with rehabilitation projects. Learn more.

City of Milwaukee - Compliance Loan Program: The Compliance Loan Program (CLP) assists homeowners throughout the City of Milwaukee in making repairs necessary to fix code violations on their property. CLP does this by providing 0% interest, deferred payment loans. This means homeowners pay no interest and only pay back the loan when selling or transferring the property. Learn more.

City of West Allis - Housing Rehabilitation Assistance Programs: Pipe check cannot currently be paired with this home repair loan program. Owner-occupied single-family dwellings and duplexes located in West Allis, that meet income limits, are eligible for reduced rate loans of up to $40,000 to assist with housing rehabilitation. Learn more.

Why is a W-9 Required for the Pipe Check Program?

MMSD is a public agency and must report benefits to individual property owners in excess of $600. Therefore, MMSD is required to collect W-9s from all homeowners who participate in the Pipe Check program. MMSD will send the property owner a 1099 at the end of the year. It is the property owner's responsibility to review any implications of participation in the Pipe Check program with a professional tax consultant.