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The Plumber's Wife Blog

The Plumber's Wife Blog is your source for Park's Plumbing and Sewer News, Specials, and information about Flood Control Systems.

Do's & Don'ts during a Flood

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Please read below for some tips of what to do and what not to do during a flood event or a torrential downpour.

  1. Stay tuned in to any local news stations or radio stations and follow any instructions that are given. 
  2. Sign up for any emergency alert systems your local area offers. Nowadays, most areas can notify you via text or email to alert you of any severe weather conditions that are headed your way.
  3. Majority of the time when we are experiencing severe weather, we also have to worry about power outages. Make sure to keep extra batteries handy for flash lights and battery operated radios. 
  4. Make sure cell phones are charged or invest in a portable charger.
  5. Electrocution is also a very serious matter to keep in mind during a flood event, current passes very easily through water. Avoid any downed power lines or electrical wires
  6. Stay indoors if possible but also be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
  7. Avoid walking through flowing water. Six inches of moving water can knock the average person off their feet.
  8. Avoid driving if possible; six inches of water can also reach up to the bottom of most passenger cars, this can cause stalling or loss of control.
  9. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where your car has stalled in a flooded area, evacuate immediately or as soon as you can. Floodwaters can rise at a rapid rate or even sweep your car away.
  • * some of these tips were found in the Northbrook Newsletter.

Village of Skokie Home Improvements Program

Friday, June 17, 2016

Excerpt From the Village of Skokie News Letter:

Your house should be protected from sewage backup that can cause costly damage and unsanitary conditions. The Village has made improvements to the sewer system to handle most normal rain storms; however, in severe rain storm sewers can fill up causing water to backflow into basements. Although there are several ways of preventing this, the two best methods are to install overhead sewers or a backwater valve flood control system. In an overhead system, waste water from the first or second floor is removed from the house through a pipe connected to the Village sewer that is at a higher level than the Village sewer. The higher elevation of the pipe helps prevent water from backing up into the house. An electric pump in the basement ejects any water from basement bathrooms, laundries or drains into the pipe that is connected to the sewer. Backwater valve flood control systems, on the other hand, stop sewage backup before it can enter the house with a check valve on the sewer line. This system generally requires the construction of an underground structure in the yard where a check valve is located. This valve lets waste water flow out of the house while keeping sewage from coming back in. It is important to maintain this valve annually to prevent failure during a storm event. These systems often contain an electric pump to force water out of the house system if the sewers are full. Both systems require electricity and should have a backup battery or generator system to assure their continued operation if the electricity goes out. The pumps in these systems require regular maintenance and may need replacement because of heavy usage. Homeowners can perform some of these home improvements themselves, while other improvements require a contractor or licensed plumber.

Financial assistance is available to income qualified households to make repairs as part of the Village’s Home Improvements Program. Please contact the Building and Zoning Division at 847/933-8223 to discuss your home repair issues, determine if a permit is required, get a list of contractors who have done work in the Village and to see if you are income-qualified for a grant or loan.

For the full article click the link below.

Evanston Residential Rain Barrel Program

Friday, April 22, 2016

Residential Rain Barrel Program

The City of Evanston has partnered with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to offer free rain barrels and free rain barrel delivery to all eligible Evanston residential property owners. The barrels will be provided by the MWRD, but eligible Evanston property owners must submit their request through the City of Evanston (see below for application link).

Rain barrels are rainwater collection systems. They are 55-gallon drums installed outside of residences and connected to downspouts to collect storm water runoff from rooftops. Rainwater can be collected for lawn and garden watering during the hotter summer months, plant watering and car and window washing. Collecting rainwater and using it on your property decreases the amount of water that ends up in Evanston’s stormwater sewer system and the amount of water you have to purchase. Installing rain barrels can help reduced flooding while also saving you money on your water bill and conserving water.

Click on the link below to learn more information on how to get your rain barrel.

IMPORTANT Announcement for Niles Residents

Friday, February 19, 2016

We have received word that the Village of Niles is almost out of funding to assist homeowners with the installation of systems to prevent sewage back ups in basements. If you are holding off on scheduling your FREE FLOOD CONTROL estimate, we strongly encourage you to call today to schedule and take advantage of any funds that are left. 847-676-1931

Village of Broadview offers Single Family homeowners Flood Assistance

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Village of Broadview now offers a reimbursement program to Single Family homeowners to defray a portion of the costs of providing protection from back up sewage in the basement. This program will assist in offsetting the cost a homeowner incurs when installing one of the following; Overhead Sewer, Backflow Prevention Valve, Left Station and Sump Pumps. You will be reimbursed 50% of the work up to $2500.00. Please contact your village to fill out an application and get further details.

Oak Park offering a Sewer Backup Protection Grant

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Great news for all Oak Park residents that experience sewer backups!

The Village is offering a grant program for qualifying homeowners that get sewage backup in their basements during times of heavy rain.

The program's intent is to offset a portion of the expense that a homeowner will incur to modify the building's plumbing system such that sewage cannot backflow in to the building when the Village sewers are full.

Eligible homeowners may qualify for a grant of 50% of the total cost of sewer back up prevention improvements, up to a maximum of $3,500.00, to install either an Overhead Sewer System or a Backflow Prevention System.

Click the link below to download the application.

SKOKIE Residential Yard Drainage Assistance Program

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Residents of Skokie, did you know that the Village's Engineering Division offers a complimentary program to help residents address rear yard drainage issues!

At no cost to you, the village will examine the subject area and identify solutions that will help reduce ponding in the rear yard. They do not contribute to the implementation of the solutions but they will come out and start the process of identifying the problem and coming up with the best solution. Whether it be to install a catch basin, re-grade the yard or shifting downspouts, Parks' would be happy to come out and give you an estimate.

For more information about the Program, please contact the Village @ 847-933-8231 or visit to access the Residential Yard Drainage Assistance Program form.

If you have already contacted the Village and are ready to move forward with the next step, please contact our office to set up your FREE ESTIMATE!

La Grange Park Reimbursement Program

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Village of La Grange Park is pleased to announce a program to assist single-family homeowners with the cost of plumbing improvements to address sanitary sewer related backups The program is being administered on a “first come – first served” basis, and will provide 50% reimbursement of eligible sewer related costs, subject to a maximum reimbursement of $3,000 for backflow devices or $5,000 for overhead sewers. The goal of the program is to encourage homeowners to improve their quality of life and enhance property values through the reduction of sanitary sewer backups. To accomplish this goal, $50,000 has been budgeted for the period of May 1, 2015 through April 30, 2016.

For more information and application, please click on the link below.{84B8C7A6-E0D4-419A-B9AB-402A81379BFC}/uploads/SBPP_-_2015_Program_Information_FINAL.pdf

In Park Ridge it pays to be GREEN

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Great news to all of our Park Ridge residents brought to you by BONO CONSULTING, INC.!

You can now receive a rebate for being GREEN and installing a Rain Barrel!

What is a Rain Barrel?

Rain barrels collect the rainwater that runs off your roof which can be used to irrigate landscaping, wash your car or fill ponds and fountains. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water.

Rebates are available for a limited time.

  1. Install a Rain Barrel
  2. Send in photo of it installed with a copy of your receipt
  3. Receive a $25.00 rebate from Bono Consulting *

*Limited to the first 100 Park Ridge residents, one rebate per residence.

Visit for more details or email

Real estate groups aiming to flush sewer camera bill

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Things to know for potential Home sellers and buyers

By: Dennis Rodkin

Just as more Chicago-area homeowners are seeing their property values recover from being under water, some Illinois legislators want to send all home sellers down into the sewer.

A bill introduced in the Illinois House in February would require home sellers to pay for a report on the condition of their properties' main sewer lines, with an inspection done by camera. Real estate groups are fighting the proposal, saying it will add hundreds of dollars—and in some cases, thousands of dollars—to the cost of selling a house.

The report, written by a licensed plumber, would evaluate the sewer line's likelihood of becoming clogged by tree roots, baby wipes and other obstructions, and would be added to the disclosures that state law already requires of home sellers, including the presence of radon, lead paint and termites and disputes over lot lines.

The current disclosure form requires sellers to verify that the home's plumbing is in working order. The difference is that a lot of the problems included in a standard disclosure form are visible to buyers, said the sponsor of the sewer inspection bill, state Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago.

But “without that camera that goes in and looks at 100 feet of sewer line, you're only disclosing what goes on with the toilets,” he said.

“This is to protect homeowners,” said Arroyo, a former employee of the city's Department of Water Management. “I get a lot of calls from people six months after they bought a house, saying their sewer main collapsed and they're out thousands of dollars” for the repairs. He declined to say exactly how many calls he has received.


“We get that call twice a week,” said Wally Welker, a project manager for Quality Plumbing Services, which serves the North Side and north and northwest suburbs. Welker said partial collapses or clogs often get noticed when a young family buys from an older homeowner, and immediately increases the water use on the property. The greater stress on the sewer system can result in backups or very slow drains, often the first sign of a collapse.

A home's sewer line may clog from tree roots invading through an opening or crack in the clay pipe, from baby wipes and other debris getting trapped at a break or opening in the pipeline or from complete collapse of an old clay pipe. Newer sewer lines are most often made of PVC plastic, and are more resistant to collapse.

Since Arroyo introduced the legislation Feb. 4, real estate industry groups have been asking their members to oppose it, arguing that the cost of sewer-cam inspections—which start at about $375 to $400, according to two plumbers —would be an unfair burden on low- and medium-income homeowners.

“When you're selling a $200,000 house, spending $500 more to do it is expensive,” said Phil Chiles, the immediate past president of the Illinois Association of Realtors. “People are already trying to get every penny out” after the downturn. Chiles predicted that most sellers would tack the cost of the inspection onto their list price, hoping to transfer the cost to buyers.

Sellers typically spend about 10 percent of the price on the home to cover commissions, title insurance and related costs, according to research by online real estate database Zillow.

Some sellers could end up paying for a lot more than a sewer report. If the inspection turns up signs of an imminent collapse or closure of the sewer line, sellers might be on the hook for a bill that could exceed $10,000, said Paul Fredericy, manager of Power Plumbing & Sewer Contractor in Chicago.


The bill does not specify who would pay for repair work. In an interview last week, Arroyo said he would expect the buyer and seller to “include that in their negotiation on the price.”

But a seller who receives a report saying that a sewer collapse is coming would have to decide whether to pay to have it fixed before selling, or hope a buyer comes along who's willing to pay for it.

Either way, the buyer's total cost goes up, Chiles said.

Rep. John D'Amico, D-Chicago, a cosponsor of the bill and a practicing plumber, argues that for many homes with old sewer lines, the buyer's costs will go up anyway when the line collapses at some point in the future. The legislation “takes the gamble out of it. You know if you're looking at something major with the sewer line and not getting hit with a bill unexpectedly.”

D'Amico acknowledged that the bill would generate business for plumbers: In 2014, more than 146,000 homes sold in Illinois. At $400 a pop, that would generate more than $58 million in revenue. Nevertheless, he said, “we're trying to protect the buyers.”

Welker and Fredericy both said that they often advise buyers of older homes to have a sewer-cam inspection done before signing a purchase contract. Once they've had a home inspection, Fredericy said, buyers often call a plumber to find out the cost of found defects, such as slow-draining sinks. That's when “we tell them they need to look farther, look into the sewer line.”

Welker, however, disagreed with the legislation's proposal to have sellers pay for the sewer-cam inspection. “That should be the buyer's responsibility,” he said. “They want to know what they're in for. The sellers don't pay for the home inspection, so why should they pay for the camera?”

Last week, Arroyo said he may revise the bill to split the cost of a sewer-cam between buyer and seller.

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