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Village of Kenmore
2919 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY 14217
Mayor
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Phone
(716) 873-5700
Fax
(716) 873-0004

Questions/Info
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Smoke Testing

The Village has already performed right of way inspections of some Village properties and has identified properties which may have improper connections to our system.  These property owners will be contacted to see if we can perform a Smoke Test on the property, which will help to verify if there are any connection problems, and if so, where.  

This work is being performed by a private contractor (CoreVIS) which specializes in smoke testing.  CoreVIS will contact these properties to provide information about the Smoke Testing process.  This is a safe process and will not harm you, your family or your home.  Your participation is voluntary, but will assist us in identifying problems which may be contributing to Inflow and Infiltration (I&I).  For information on I&I please see the link under Sewer & Storm Water Info.

Please see the links below for more information on Smoke Testing.

How Property Owners Can Help

  1. Gutters.  Inspect the gutters on your home or business to see if the  downspout(s) connect to a sanitary sewer line. If the gutters are connected,  have them disconnected. The runoff water from the roof can contribute to  storm sewer overflow.

    If your gutters are clogged with leaves or debris, clear it out. This can prevent  a significant amount of run-off from entering the sanitary sewer system.

  2. Sump Pumps.  Sump pump systems are designed to capture surface or ground water that enters basements or crawl spaces and pump it away from the house. Make sure the basement sump pump does not connect to your sewage drain pipes, or to a sink or floor drain in your basement. The water from these pumps can overload the sanitary sewer causing an overflow of raw sewage into a street, stream, or someone else’s basement. 

    If you have a sump pump, make sure the discharge is directed outside your  house and NOT into the sanitary sewer system. That’s called a cross connection,  and is a leading cause of Inflow & Infiltration. 

  3. Grease Disposal. Avoid pouring grease down your sink. When the grease cools in the sewer line it can form clogs and blockages, which then can cause the sanitary sewer to overflow or back up in buildings. Grease can also contribute to restricted flow in your home plumbing and service laterals, which can result in costly repairs.

  4. Trees & Shrubs.  Avoid planting trees and shrubs above or near the service  lateral that runs from your home to the street. Roots can grow into the pipes and clog  sewers, causing them to back up and overflow.

  5. Disposable Wipes.  Do not flush disposable wipes down the toilet or drain,  even if the labeling says they are “flushable”.

  6. Routine Cleaning.  If you’ve had a history of backups, a routine sewer cleaning is recommended.  In any case, a sewer check-up once every two years doesn’t hurt.

  7. Maintain your property.  You can also help by maintaining healthy lawns and  not leaving debris or possible pollutants on lawns, driveways, or streets.

Sump Pumps

Sump pump systems are designed to capture surface or ground water that enters basements or crawl spaces and pump it away from the house. Cross connections (when sump pumps discharge into the sanitary sewer system) are against Village of Kenmore ordinance, and pose economic and environmental problems.

Homeowners use sump pumps in their basements to battle moisture and flooding issues. The basic sump system includes drain tile, a sump pit (which extends below the slab and collects surface water that enters the basement/crawl space or groundwater that rises to the slab), a sump pump, a float or switch, and a drain line. The drain line should direct sump water out of your house and onto your yard to an approved location.

 

What Is a Cross Connection?

When a sump pump is connected to a sanitary sewer line, it is called a cross connection. Often, this is a hose leading from the sump to a laundry tub or a floor drain. Water that goes down any drain in your house leads to the sanitary sewer system and eventually ends up at a wastewater treatment plant, where it is treated before being released back into the environment.

Cross connections are a significant cause of inflow and infiltration and must be fixed and pass inspection before a property can be sold.

 

Why Is This Problem?

Sump pump water is what engineers call "clear water," most often rain water, ground water, or snow melt. This water flows directly into area streams, ponds, and lakes. 

Water from sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, and washing machines is wastewater and must be treated before it is discharged into the environment.

When Clear water, such as that from a sump pump, goes into the sanitary sewer system, it overloads the sanitary sewer system.  Since sanitary sewer water needs to be treated, there is additional costs to the Village which is passed onto our residents and businesses on your quarterly water/sewer bill.

Your sewer rates are based on our costs to the Town of Tonawanda Wastewater Plant.  Treating clear water is costly to everyone.

 

Redirecting Your Sump Pump Connection

Sump pumps should drain into the Village’s storm system and not the sanitary sewer system.  This is achieved through a direct a direct connection (a pipe from the house to the main storm sewer line.

 

Bubblers

Under Village Code, you are also required to have a bubbler installed.

A bubbler helps to more evenly disperse the sump pump water leaving your home.  As a result, water is less likely to collect on driveways and sidewalk.

 

Flooding and Drainage Problems

When trying to figure out how to respond to a flooding or drainage problem, first identify the source of the problem by asking these questions:

 

Is there water coming through the basement walls or floor?

If water is coming through basement or lower level walls or through the concrete floor, the issue is likely related to groundwater.

 

Is there water coming from your floor drain or into your bathtub (toilet, wash tub, etc.)?

If water is backing up from a floor drain, lower level toilet, or lower level shower or bathtub, it is possible the issue is related to a sanitary sewer backup.

 

Is there water flowing into your home through a door or window?

If there is water flowing into the structure, the issue may be related to surface water flooding or localized drainage.

 

Is there water standing in your yard or flowing through your yard?

If the concern centers around water ponding, or standing, in part or a yard, or water flowing onto a property from adjacent property, the issue is likely related to localized drainage.  There may be a problem with your bubbler system.

 

Once you determine the nature of the issue, take the appropriate action:

 

Surface Water Flooding

If surface water is actually flowing into a structure, immediately call the Department of Public Works (DPW) at 875-0527. The DPW will evaluate the situation as soon as possible and take appropriate action.

 

Groundwater

The Village is not responsible for groundwater issues. If your basement is prone to groundwater flooding, make sure all valuables and electronics are placed sufficiently high enough to stay dry.  

You should also check with your insurance agent to find out if your homeowners insurance covers basement flooding.

 

Sanitary Sewer Backup

If your sanitary sewer is backing up, immediately call the DPW at 716- 875-0527. The DPW will evaluate the situation as soon as possible and take appropriate action if it is an issue with the Village’s main line.

The property owner is responsible for back-ups resulting in blockages between the house and the sewer main.

If this situation is encountered outside of normal business hours, continue to call the Kenmore Police Department at 716-875-1234 and they will contact on-call DPW staff.

 

Localized Drainage Issues

The Village is responsible for storm water runoff when it enters the street. Each property owner is responsible for drainage within their property.

Common causes of ponding or standing water in a yard include frozen ground, Very dry ground due (lack of rain over a period of time), saturated ground, or blocked pipes (tree roots, gardens, fences, landscaping, sheds, etc.).

If standing water is a result of actions by adjoining property owners, an owner who is improperly directing water to another’s property may be violating State and local Property Maintenance Codes. Contact the Building Department at (716) 873-5700 to request an inspection. 

If the issue is not a Property Maintenance Code issue, the two property owners are responsible for working the issue out.

 

How Property Owners Can Help

See How Property Owners Can Help on the Inflow & Infiltration web page.

 

NUMBERS TO CALL:

  • DPW (716) 875-0527
    M-F 7 AM – 3 PM

  • KPD (716) 875-1234
    Before 7 AM or after 3 PM.

Inflow & Infiltration/Time of Sale Inspections

What is Inflow and Infiltration (I&I)?

Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) is the excess flow of clear water into the Village’s sanitary sewer system.

  • Inflow is when clear water from illegal connections of sump pumps, downspouts, and foundation drains is channeled directly into sanitary sewer pipes. 

  • Infiltration is when groundwater seeps into sewer pipes via cracks or leaky joints.

Because the sanitary sewer system was not designed to handle this excess clear water, it becomes overloaded during times of high groundwater or heavy rainfall. This can cause basement flooding or bypassing of raw wastewater to local streams and lakes.

What's the problem?

Wastewater from the Village travels through the Town’s sanitary sewer system for processing. The Village is charged annually for each gallon of wastewater transmitted and processed by the treatment plant. When I&I gets into the wastewater, our wastewater treatment costs go up because more water is being processed.  In the end, these cost increases result in increases to your water/sewer bill.

The excess clear water from I&I problems also uses sanitary sewer capacity needed for wastewater. The result is sewer backups and increased costs to homeowners and taxpayers for needlessly putting clear water through the wastewater treatment process.

The New York State Environmental Conservation Department (NYSDEC) requires communities with excess I&I to invest in local reduction remedies such as disconnecting sump pumps and foundation drains from sanitary sewers and repairing leaky sanitary sewer pipes. 

To urge compliance, NYSDEC will fine communities with excess I&I.

 

Village Infrastructure Repairs

The Village, like most communities in Western New York, was identified as a contributor of excess I&I and is working to resolve the problem.

The Village has invested millions of dollars to replace or line our sewer lines.  This is an ongoing process which eliminates cracks, breaks and repairs connections.

 

I&I Problem Spots on Your Property

Drainage from roofs, paved areas, yards and other open areas, if improperly discharged, will lead to I&I issues. 

 

Roof Drains and Leaders

Roof drains and leaders direct storm water from roof gutters to the ground through pipes and downspouts. Roof drains should not be connected to the sanitary sewer, but should discharge to the ground outside of a building. 

If your roof drains are connected to the sanitary sewer, disconnect them, plug any open connections to the sanitary sewer using a non-shrink permanent material, and redirect the roof drains onto the ground outside the building.

 

Foundation Drains

Foundation drains are underground pipes that collect storm water from around the base of a building and into a sump pit, where it is then pumped outside of the building. Foundation drains should not be connected to the sanitary sewer. 

If your foundation drain system is connected to the sanitary sewer, correcting the problem could be costly. The process could involve excavation to disconnect the foundation drain from the sanitary sewer and installation of a sump pump system. The new sump system must pump directly to the ground outside of the building or be connected to the Village's storm sewer system.

 

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are designed to capture surface or ground water that enters basements or crawl spaces and pump it away from the house. The basic sump system includes drain tile, a sump pit, a sump pump, a float or switch, and a drain line. The sump pit extends below the slab and collects surface water that enters the basement/crawl space or groundwater that rises to the slab. 

Sump pumps should not be connected to the sanitary sewer. Sump pumps should drain into the Village’s storm sewer system through a direct connection (a pipe from the house to the main storm sewer line. (Sump Pumps)

 

I&I Inspections Program

To comply with NYSDEC directives regarding I&I, the Village may need to inspect homes and businesses to determine if roof drains, foundation drains, sump pumps (see Program Links), and other clear water sources are connected to the sanitary sewer system. The goal of this program is to reduce excessive flows that enter the sanitary sewer system so the Village won't have to pay NYSDEC penalties.  The Village already conducts these inspections as part of its Time of Sale Inspections and will continue with systematic house-to-house and business-to-business inspections later this year.

Who is subject to an inspection?

  • All properties in Village of Kenmore must be inspected and required to be in compliance before they can be sold. Under the Time of Sale Law, a property must be inspected to ensure that no I&I issues are present. 

  • If problems are found, the corrective work must be completed and an inspection before a Certificate of Compliance will be issued. Upon completion of a successful Time of Sale Inspection. This Certificate is good for 2 years.   Please note that this Certificate is needed in order to close.  We strongly urge you to contact the Building Department to schedule your initial inspection as soon as possible after entering into a Contract for Sale to ensure adequate time for inspections (and re-inspections, if needed).

  • Property owners who apply for plumbing permits, variances, subdivisions, or other actions from the Village will also be subject to an inspection. 

  • In the near future, the Village will conduct systematic house-to-house and business-to-business inspections to check for I&I issues. 

  • Properties identified as having possible problems with connections, may be asked to allow the Village (or its contractor) to perform Smoke and/or Dye tests.  These tests will help to verify if there are any problems and the location of the leak.

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