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Overhead Sewer Conversion Reimbursement Program

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The City is taking measures to reduce the amount of excess flow in the sewer system.  However, these measures often take time to realize the results needed in order to eliminate basement back-ups during storm events.  Therefore, the City offers the overhead sewer conversion reimbursement program to provide an immediate solution to homeowners who experience basement back-ups.


What is a basement back-up and why does it occur? 

The City of Joliet is mandated to eliminate sewer overflows and back-ups by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Sewer overflows and back-ups occur when excessive water enters the separate and combined sewer system.  Sources of excess water can be divided into two separate categories – infiltration and inflow.  Infiltration is groundwater that enters the sewer mains and service laterals through defective pipe joints and cracks in pipes.  Inflow is water that enters sewer mains and service laterals through illegal connections such as sump pumps and cross connections from storm sewers. 


What is the City doing to address excess flow in the sewer system?

The City is conducting sewer system evaluation surveys (SSES) in neighborhoods that are prone to basement back-ups to identify sources of excess water.  SSES includes flow monitoring, review of sewer televising reports to identify sewer main defects, manhole inspections, smoke testing to identify public and private sources of I&I, and dyed water flooding to determine cross connections with storm sewers. Once these sources are identified a rehabilitation plan is prepared.  Rehabilitation includes cured in place pipe lining, grouting, and manhole repairs and coating.  For more information about the City’s current 5-year sewer rehabilitation program, visit


What is the Overhead Sewer Conversion Reimbursement Program?

The City is offering reimbursements up to $4,500 to sewer customers who have experienced a basement back-up due to excess water in the sewer system and convert their existing gravity sewer to an overhead sewer.  The homeowner is responsible for directly contracting with and paying a contractor to complete the work.  A list of local contractors is available upon request at the Department of Public Utilities.


Description of Work:

Installation of overhead sewers requires changing the existing plumbing in the basement so that the fixtures, laundry, and drains in the basement get redirected to an ejector pit.  The ejector pit pumps the sewage overhead where it exits the foundation towards the middle of the basement wall.  The upper level plumbing will also be redirected overhead and flow by gravity to exit the foundation towards the top of the basement wall.  Once outside the building the sewer will be connected to the existing sewer lateral that connects to the City sewer main.  There is also an option for an external ejector pump if the basement is finished and the restoration is too costly to install an overhead sewer system inside the house.  The exact work required will be specific to each home.

Program Details

  • A reimbursement of up to $4,500 will be offered to sewer customers with basement back-ups confirmed to be due to excess water in the sewer system who convert their gravity sewer to an overhead system. Items covered include the ejector pit and pump, new overhead plumbing, replacement of the sewer with PVC up to 10 feet from the house, installation of an outside cleanout and the electrical connection. Restoration of disturbed landscaping areas is not covered.
  • Reimbursements are available on a first come, first served basis until funds are exhausted.
  • The reimbursement amount will not exceed the cost of the eligible work.
  • The property where the overhead sewer conversion is completed must be a sewer customer of the City of Joliet Utilities Department with an active account. Customers with past due accounts will not be eligible until the account is paid in full.
  • Applicant must be the owner of the property listed on the reimbursement form.

How to apply

  • To be eligible for an overhead sewer system conversion reimbursement a documented basement backup must have occurred due to excess water in the sanitary sewer main.  Back-ups due to root intrusion or defects in the sewer lateral will not be considered eligible.  In addition, all storm water connections including footing tiles must be removed from the sanitary sewer.
  • Contact the Department of Public Utilities at 815-724-4220 to confirm eligibility. An appointment with the City’s plumbers is required to discuss the feasibility of an overhead sewer conversion and confirm there are no storm water connections or sewer lateral defects.  Appointments are available Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • Reimbursement applications will be mailed to customers who are confirmed to be eligible for the program.
  • Once you are confirmed eligible, hire Contractor and schedule overhead sewer conversion work.
  • Contact the Department of Public Utilities to schedule an inspection to confirm completion of the overhead sewer conversion. Do not schedule the inspection until work has been completed, including electrical.
  • Mail the reimbursement form with itemized invoice to the City of Joliet.
  • Reimbursement checks will not be mailed until the post installation inspection is completed. Please allow 30-45 days for processing.
  • NOTE: The homeowner is responsible for all payments to Contractor. City will not pay Contractor.