The City of Highland Park is launching a new program to help residents repair their deteriorated or damaged sanitary service lines. The sanitary service line, (also referred to as a ,house lateral'), is the pipe that carries wastewater from the residence to the City sanitary sewer main. With the new sanitary service line repair program, the City of Highland Park will approve and hire contractors, manage the repair work, offer a financing option to residents, and even pay 20 percent of the total repair cost! This program offers residents a low-cost, less-stress option to repair their failed sanitary lines, reduce the chance of sewer backups, and protect against property damage. For the past several years, the City of Highland Park has been implementing measures to improve both the storm and sanitary sewer systems by repairing, lining, and rebuilding sewer mains. Since 2001, the Department of Public Works has utilized state-of-the-art sewer television cameras to assess and record the condition of residential service lines and the City sanitary sewer mains. In addition to the use of new technology, the Department of Public Works and Earth Tech Inc. recently developed a 10-year master plan for the City's storm and sanitary systems. One of the most important findings presented by the engineering consultant is that repairing residential sanitary service lines will help reduce as much as 80 percent of the rain water (known as infiltration) from entering the City's sewer mains during wet weather events. This reduction in infiltration reduces the possibility of the sanitary main surcharging, thereby reducing the possibility of backups in residential service lines.
According to City Code, property owners are responsible for maintaining sanitary service lines and ensuring that the services are in good repair, thus minimizing the possibility of infiltration. Over time, sanitary service lines may become damaged, develop leaks, or become blocked with tree roots or debris. This may result in sanitary sewer back-ups affecting that property and other properties downstream.
Residents who have been required to repair damaged or leaky lines have indicated that finding good, knowledgeable contractors to perform the work is difficult. Therefore, the City is embarking on an innovative approach to address the concern and facilitate the repair of sanitary service lines. The City will provide all necessary inspections of the contractor's work.