Basement Flooding Prevention

Basement flooding can occur during excessive rainfall and is often exaggerated when the ground is already saturated. A home assessment of the water transfer, sanitary and storm sewer systems by the homeowner or qualified basement and plumbing professional is the first step to determining the source of basement flooding problems.

Download and print the Basement Flooding Prevention Information.

What can Grove City property owners do?

Confirm rainwater transfer systems are in place, functional and operating efficiently.

Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, allowing rainwater to flow without obstruction (gutter guards may be an aid). One way to check for blockages is to run hose water through the downspouts to ensure the water is draining properly.

Ensure the downspouts are not connected to the City’s sanitary sewer. City code prohibits such connections; however, homes built prior to 1963 may still be configured in that manner, adding excess water to the sanitary sewer system. This can potentially cause sewer backups into the home. Downspouts should drain to the street, yard, rain barrel or curb can, away from the home.

Ensure the sump pump and drainage system around the home are working properly and the pump discharge is not connected to the sanitary sewer system. With regular maintenance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates the average life expectancy of a sump pump is 10 years. Be certain internal sanitary plumbing and floor drains are not connected to the sump pump. Installing a backup sump pump with an alternative power source (i.e., battery or water) and a high-water alarm are recommended.

Check the lot grading around the basement to ensure water is directed away from, not toward, the home. Additionally, if the lot has a rear or side yard drainage swale, be certain there is nothing impeding the flow such as sheds, fences, landscaping, etc. Many lot grading contractors offer inspection and correction services. Remember: Maintenance of ditches, creeks and streams located on private property is the homeowner’s responsibility.

Most Grove City homes built after 1990 employ curb cans to filter sump pump and downspout rainwater before it is diverted to the City’s storm drainage system. Each curb can (typically two per house) should be cleaned by the homeowner twice a year to reduce the risk of basement flooding and/or standing water at the curb.

Download and print the Curb Can Cleanout brochure.

Ensure the private storm lateral is not blocked or compromised. If the lateral is blocked by tree roots, and/or crushed, water often can’t drain away from the foundation. Foundation and roof drains can become overwhelmed and water can migrate into the home.

A protective coating is often applied on the exterior of a basement wall to prevent water from traveling through the wall. With age, it can become compromised and in need of repair or reapplication.

Excessive water at the foundation or slab of a home can cause foundation drains to become overwhelmed. When this happens, water may not be routed away from the house and could seep through floors, basement walls and windows, migrating into the home. Often this is caused by inadequate drainage or grading, malfunctioning sump pumps, clogged gutters or compromised foundation drains.

Water can back up from the sanitary main through the service lateral then through floor drains or other plumbing fixtures. Sewer laterals that are blocked by debris or root intrusion, are broken or have offset joints may prevent sewage from leaving the home, causing storm water infiltration during heavy rain events. Additionally, residences without adequate backflow prevention are at risk of experiencing backups into the property’s private sanitary system.

Consider installing a backflow device. During times of heavy rainfall, the City sanitary sewer lines may become overwhelmed, causing water or sewage to flow back into a home. A backwater valve installed in a home’s sewer line, often referred to as a backflow or sewer backup valve, is designed to allow water or sewage to flow only one way — out of the home.

Watch this How a backwater valve can help reduce the risk of basement flooding video created by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, explaining backwater valves and installation..

Download and print the Backwater Valve handout.

What can the City of Grove City do?

The City of Grove City maintains the storm and sanitary sewer systems.

The storm sewer system carries rainfall and other surface run-off from parking lots, roads and private properties (including foundation drains, sump pumps and downspouts) directly and untreated to creeks and ditches. The following private property items should be connected to the City’s storm sewer system or away from the home:

  • Foundation drain
  • Sump pump
  • Downspout leader
  • Storm connection

The Public Service Department routinely maintains current infrastructure with street sweeping, inlet debris removal, culvert obstruction cleaning, root treating, televising, field inspections and rehabilitation projects. In circumstances of excessive rainfall, it is possible for public infrastructure to exceed capacity, resulting in flooded streets, yards and buildings.

Important Note:  Unlike the sanitary sewer system carrying water from drains in homes to the wastewater treatment plant, the storm sewer system carries untreated run-off water straight to the river. Everything that goes into a storm drain is discharged directly into our waterways. This means grass clippings, oil or antifreeze from a leaky car, pet waste, litter and household cleaners dumped on the ground can find their way into the river. In addition to potentially obstructing the drains, these pollutants have profound harmful effects on water quality, wildlife and drinking water.

The sanitary sewer system carries wastewater from homes, commercial buildings and industry to the wastewater treatment plant (operated by the City of Columbus). The following private property items should be connected to the City’s sanitary sewer system:

  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Washing machine
  • Basement or garage floor drains
  • Grinder pumps

Property and Plumbing Assessment 

The City of Grove City is available to guide homeowners through their private plumbing and property assessment.

Homeowners are encouraged to complete a thorough assessment of their property to determine the source(s) of flooding. The City of Grove City can provide assessment guidance and inspect potential problems tied to City infrastructure.

Note:  All recommended actions can be of significant value; however, none are guaranteed to work every time as conditions may vary during each high-water episode. Housing inventory within the City varies widely from new to homes built more than 80 years ago. Records of plumbing changes and homeowner activities over the years are often impossible to track or inaccurately documented. Therefore, the City can take no responsibility for the use of plugs, standpipes, valves, etc.

Download and print the Property and Plumbing Assessment Recommendations.