Help seems to be on the way for River Forest property owners faced with costly repairs to sewer connections running from their properties to the main canal below the road.
Officials reached consensus at the village board meeting on September 27th to support a recommendation to create a subsidy program for side sewer repair. A formal proposal will be considered at a village board meeting in October.
Similar to the current Main Line Replacement and Sewage Prevention Program, the Side Sewer Subsidy Program would provide property owners with a 50 percent reimbursement of repair costs with a maximum reimbursement of $ 7,500 per property owner.
The issue was raised at the village board meeting on July 12, when residents of the 1400 block of Monroe Avenue raised concerns about a sewage problem on their block. In addition to cost concerns, residents questioned a village ordinance that requires property owners to repair interruptions in the sewer system on the side of the property up to the confluence with the main sewer system, even if it is behind the curb.
Jeff Loster, village engineer, told the September 27 meeting that an informal poll in the western suburbs showed that the majority of respondents followed policies similar to River Forest. He said responses had been received from 13 of the 19 communities contacted, with eight reporting that the property owner was responsible for maintaining a sewer connection in good condition from the building to the main sewer falls, as required by River Forest policy.
During a brief discussion, officials generally supported the recommendation but expressed concerns about its impact on residents.
Village president Cathy Adduci stressed the importance of educating residents about this issue and helping them find qualified contractors.
Trustee Bob O’Connell wanted to know what was “most equivalent” for residents.
Loster said the village has approximately 3,000 total sewer lines and the approximate cost of a typical in-lane repair is about $ 10,000-15,000.
In response to a question from trustee Respicio Vazquez about the location of the damage, Loster stated that the majority is between the property and the curb, adding, “We don’t get much on the pavement.”
Loster added that the village is doing one or two canal side repairs per year, but expects that number will increase if the subsidy program is adopted.
In response to a question from trustee Katie Brennan, Loster stated that he believes promoting the shared cost will generate more interest.
Other program details would include ongoing maintenance, such as removing roots and removing debris from the building to the sewer system, under the responsibility of the property owner; only structural damage such as pipe collapse or disconnection on the main carriageway under the carriageway would be eligible for reimbursement; the location of the damage is to be determined by a plumber / contractor hired by the property owner and verified by village staff, whose costs may be reimbursable based on the program’s maximum reimbursement criteria; the landowner would be responsible for hiring a licensed contractor and would need to apply for a permit through the village’s online permit portal; the work would have to be guaranteed for at least three years; and all applicants and payments would be continuously tracked to continuously monitor program participation.