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Wet weather flooding information



Wet weather flooding informationWet weather flooding information

Water entering a home creates a stressful and emotional situation for homeowners or renters. Although the City of Brunswick and the Medina County Sanitary Engineer make every effort to prevent such incidents, they may still occur. The following information is offered to help property owners and residents understand why incidents of flooding happen, how they can be prevented, and what steps citizens should take if a wet weather incident of flooding affects their property.

Wet weather flooding information

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Public sanitary and storm sewer systems

Two different sewer systems serve the City of Brunswick. The first system is designed to transport household waste from area homes. This system is called the public sanitary sewer system and is operated and maintained by the Medina County Sanitary Engineer. Please click here to visit the Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s website for more information. There are one hundred and fifty (150) miles of sanitary sewers in Brunswick in which the waste flows by gravity to one of the Medina County Wastewater Treatment Plants where it is treated and ultimately discharged to Rocky River, and eventually, to Lake Erie. The second public sewer system is the storm sewer system and is designed to transport storm or rain water to area streams and rivers. Storm sewers are a network of piping, generally vitreous clay or concrete piping. The storm water runoff is collected at inlets from streets, catch basins, area drains, and also from individual residential and commercial properties. These pipes vary in size from eight inches to over sixty inches in diameter. The storm water will eventually discharge to the local waterways of Rocky River and, like the treated wastewater, ultimately drains to Lake Erie. The operation and maintenance of the public storm sewer system, within the public right of way, is the responsibility of the City of Brunswick.

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Private property sanitary and storm sewer systems

In addition to the public sewer systems, residents should be aware of small sewer pipes, generally four to six inches in diameter, on their property. These sewers are called service laterals, the lines between the building and main lines, and their purpose is to convey both storm water and domestic waste in separate pipes. Storm service laterals discharge to either storm sewers or ditches. Service laterals are the responsibility of the property owners. A certified plumber can inspect your laterals for proper water flow and complete any maintenance or repairs when deemed necessary. Contact the Brunswick Division of Building at 330-558-6830 for a list of registered plumbing contractors.


What causes a public sanitary sewer main backup?

Sanitary sewer backup can be caused by a number of factors. The most common cause is due to a blockage in the main sewer line.  Causes may include breaks in the pipe, intrusion of tree roots, clogging due to an accumulation of grease or sediments, system deterioration, inflow /infiltration of storm water into the system via low manholes and cracked pipes. For more detailed information, click here to visit the Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s website.

What causes a private sanitary sewer lateral backup?

Wet weather flooding informationFlooding 5The most common cause of sanitary sewer backup is cooking grease. Other common causes of backup include items such as toys, underwear, towels, diapers, paper products (other than toilet paper), keys, etc. Problems surface when the smaller laterals become blocked with roots, grease, sediments, or a collapsed pipe. When the flow becomes blocked, untreated waste water can back up into your home. What you flush down your toilet may not affect you, but it might cause problems for your neighbors. For more detailed information, click here to visit the Medina County Sanitary Engineer’s website.

Should I install a backwater prevention valve?


Wet weather flooding information

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A backwater valve can sometimes prevent, or greatly reduce, the possibility of a sewer backup. A backwater valve is a fixture installed into a sanitary sewer service lateral either outside or in the basement. A backwater valve is an automatic device which allows water to flow out of the building, but closes when water tries to flow backwards. The unit must be cleaned according to the manufacturer to ensure that the valve closes correctly when needed. If the sanitary lateral outside the building is old, loose or cracked, the back flow preventer may cause flood water to flow out of the lateral, through the ground and into the basement through cracks in the floor, walls, or even the floor drains. During a backup situation, do not add any additional water to the drains by flushing toilets, taking showers, doing laundry, etc.


Wet weather flooding informationWet weather flooding information


…but closes when the flow is reversed.

Wet weather flooding informationWet weather flooding informationPlease contact the Medina County Sanitary Engineering Department at 844-722-8404 for further information regarding the installation of the valve outside on a service lateral. For information on installing in the floor of the basement, please contact the Brunswick Division of Building at 330-558-6830.

What causes a public storm sewer main backup?

Wet weather flooding informationFlooding 12Public or mainline storm sewer backups can be caused by a number of factors. Heavy or intense rainfall events can overwhelm the storm sewer system. A blockage in the main sewer line may be caused by breaks in the pipe, intrusion of tree roots, or downstream restrictions. Grass clippings, leaves, branches, newspapers and trash that enter the storm drain can also cause blockage. Brunswick Codified Ordinance No. 1040.05 prohibits any person putting paper, wood, stone or other foreign material into a sanitary or storm sewer.



What causes a private storm sewer lateral backup?

Flooding 12Storm service lateral backups can be caused by a lack of maintenance to your gutters and downspouts. Leaves and debris often clog gutters and only allow a low flow of water to the downspouts. The overflow of water from blocked gutters, misaligned downspouts, missing or damaged gutters will allow the water to enter the home along the foundation wall. The soil surrounding your home becomes saturated and the water may penetrate cracks in the walls and the floor of the basement.

How do the footer drains work?
Wet weather flooding information

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The footer drain is designed to take away excess water from outside the basement walls and under the floor slab. The water flows by gravity to the private storm water lateral leading to the main storm sewer. The footer drain works in conjunction with the grading around the foundation, gravel over the drain, and waterproofing applied to the foundation. When wet weather exists, excess water may flow along the foundation wall and enter the footer drain. The water then flows by gravity through the footer drain to the private storm lateral, or it may be pumped by the means of a sump pump. During a heavy rain storm, an undersized sump pump may allow for storm water to backup into your home. The recommended minimum size for a sump pump is as follows:

  • One 4,000 gallons per hour (GPH) primary submersible sump with a ten foot lift.
  • One 2,000 gallons per hour (GPH) fully automatic, marine type battery operated, standby sump pump system.

A diverter could be installed outside the foundation wall from the exit discharge pipe of the sump pump. Installing the diverter may be an option for assistance during heavy rains.

What causes footer drain backups?
Wet weather flooding information

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Wet weather flooding informationOver time silting (fine dirt particles) or tree roots can partially clog the footer drain and excess water can build up along the foundation. Even when the footer drains are working properly, overflow storm water from gutters can cause too much demand on them. A footer drain lies flat along the footer, has little to no slope, and depends on gravity to relieve the water pressure. The best scenario would be the least amount of water to enter the footer drains. Proper grading away from the foundation is very important. The ground must fall away from the foundation at least six inches within the first ten feet around the perimeter of the home. This is a minimum requirement. The more slope the better. A negative grade towards the foundation will cause the water to run towards the house and eventually lead to a leaky foundation. When proper grading is performed, the water will flow away from the footer drain. Patios, sidewalks, and landscaping should not be pitched toward the foundation. Inspect and relieve standing water along the foundation and install covers over the window wells. Storm sewer lines may also have blockage, breaks, and settlement similar to those previously mentioned in the sanitary lines.

Should I install a diverter onto my sump pump discharge line?

Wet weather flooding informationAs mentioned before, during heavy rain events it is very possible for sump pump crocks to overflow water into the basement area. Check with a certified plumber to see if the sump pump is working, sized properly, and also to see if the battery backup pump is working. The discharge line from the sump pump should pump water to the storm service lateral which connects to the local public storm sewer. It is possible to install a diverter on the residential sump pump discharge line to divert storm water outside to a point where positive drainage takes the flow away from the structure during a heavy rain event only. This could relieve backpressure from the storm sewer if it is surcharged or full. The pump should work more efficiently to remove incoming water from the footer drain. Before installing a diverter, please contact the Brunswick Division of Building for more information at 330-558-6830. Storm water cannot be diverted to cause a negative impact or nuisance to any adjacent property.

Wet weather flooding informationThe first picture is an example of a diverter model installed at the downspout and sump pump connection. In the second picture, notice that the diverter is directly connected to the sump pump discharge line and located at the downspout riser. The problem with this example is any overflow water from the diverter is not directed away from the foundation. To correct the problem, add a discharge line to divert overflow water away from the foundation.

Should I consider a special rider added to my homeowner's or renter's insurance policy?

Since water damage may occur at any moment, especially below grade and during a storm, it may be advisable to contact your insurance agent for information regarding special rider insurance for water backup to be added to your policy. Check with your insurance agent for more coverage information and pricing.