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Old 05-17-2010, 03:09 PM   #1
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Stormwater Drainage


Why can't you drain stormwater with sewage?

I have a driveway that sloped towards the house. I just recently had to replace a section of my sewage line because of an old check valve that stopped functioning. The easiest thing for me to do would be to tie the drain at the bottom of the driveway into the sewage line while I have it open.

The person who connected the drain to the sump the first time must of lacked intelligence because he had the pipe running up hill.

Basically I wrote this whole post to have 1 question answered...Is there any way to get around the rule that you cant have your storm water drain to the sewer?
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:02 PM   #2
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Stormwater Drainage


Too much volume (in gallons).

There is a definite finite limit to how much the sewage treatment plant can handle before raw sewage has to be let out into the open, such as into a river or the ocean.

Also you must never drain storm or gutter water into a septic system.

Once the law is in place by the city or the rule is in place by a private water/sewer company, there is no going around it.

Many cities have a second "sewage" system in some or all streets which accepts rain water and this goes straight to the river or ocean without being treated.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-17-2010 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:28 PM   #3
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Stormwater Drainage


The bottom line is that the municipality dose not want to process storm water. You can't do it legally. I have to confess that I tied some storm water into my sanitary, in order to wash out the line during a storm. I have a newer house with all low consumption fixtures and a 90' run to the city sewer. I used to have problems with occasional back--ups due to the solid waste laying in the lines, since I did this I haven't had a problem in over 3 years
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:30 PM   #4
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Stormwater Drainage


And if you get caught the fine can be up to $1500+
Sewage plants simply can't handle the volume of water
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Old 05-17-2010, 04:43 PM   #5
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I said it wasn't legal, but you could always check with the municipality, depending on the size of the driveway and how many sq. ft of water it recives, some places will allow small conveinence drains
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Old 05-18-2010, 07:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of the replies. The biggest problem I see is that when I go to sell the house a dye test will more than likely be done and I'll have to front the money for repairs. I guess I'll tie it into the sewer as a temporary fix until I get the money/time to tear apart and put in a new driveway.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:41 AM   #7
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I see a couple potential problems with what you want to do. First, if you tie a storm drain into the sewer line, you can get sewer gasses coming up out of the drain. If you put in a trap to avoid sewer gasses, the trap can freeze in the winter (depending on where you are located) and you need to vent the trap somewhere.

If you have a check valve on your sewer line, that tells me its there to avoid sewer backups into your house, if you connect the storm drain downstream of the check valve, you could potentially get sewer backup coming out of your driveway drain, if you connect in before the check valve, you could get storm drain water backing up into your house. I'm not sure what the elevations you are working with but I invision a whole mess of potential problems down the road from doing this.

Last edited by The Engineer; 05-18-2010 at 08:45 AM. Reason: forgot the vent
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:55 AM   #8
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Engineer,

I should of been more clear... I replaced the line from before the p-trap to after the old check valve. I removed the check valve with the advice of a certified union plumber. The house was built in 1930 and there have been many sewage updates since then which eliminated the need for it. I also talked to a few neighbors who also had to do the same thing in the area and they also removed their old check valves and have had no problems for 10+ years.

I planned on Teeing off of the fresh air, which is before the P-trap to the house to tie the drain in. Now I think I am just going to get a jack hammer and run the drain to a sump and pump it back out of the house into a downspout on the side so I don't have to do double work in the future. Another problem is that I don't know where that downspout runs to, might be the sewer...
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:14 AM   #9
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Approximately how many square feet of surface area are you draining? I think the sump pump is a good idea. If there have been upgrades to the sewer main in the street, they might have installed a storm only drain alongside the sewer drain at one point in the past. That may be why the backup problems with your neighbors have been eliminated since combined storm/sanitary sewers where the normal procedure in the past. If they did it right, your downspout underground "should" connect to the storm only drain in the street.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:29 AM   #10
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If I had to guess I'd say the driveway is about 20' wide by 40' long, so anywhere from 800-1000 sq. ft.

Storm only drains were definitely added in the past. I had a dye test done when I bought the house, but I am not sure if I trust the findings. The downspouts 'should' flow to the new drain, but they are still tied into the old terracotta coming out of the ground and I think that if they would of been changed, plastic would have been used.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Branden View Post
but they are still tied into the old terracotta coming out of the ground and I think that if they would of been changed, plastic would have been used.
They would've only changed the line in the street. They would not have replaced the line on your property. So the terracotta line coming out of the ground is old, but once that line enters the street, they would've connected into it there, and extended it over to the new storm main. They are not going to rip up the ground of every house to replace the lines back to the downspout. To costly and time consuming.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:07 AM   #12
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Well that is great to know. Thanks Engineer. I guess I am going to be doing some digging to get the drain to run into the sump properly, not running up hill like the last owner had it doing...
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Branden View Post
Well that is great to know. Thanks Engineer. I guess I am going to be doing some digging to get the drain to run into the sump properly, not running up hill like the last owner had it doing...
I know it sucks when you have to do extra work to fix someone else's snafu. But good on you for getting the info and doing it right.
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