Residential Downspout Disconnect

In the Borough’s efforts to address combined sewer overflows and storm water run-off problems, the Borough adopted Ordinance No. 1341, the Residential Downspout Disconnect Ordinance. This ordinance encourages and requires a permit for downspout (roof drains/gutters) disconnection from the combined sanitary and storm water system in Etna. By removing roof drains where appropriate through approved methods you can help yourself, your neighbors and the environment. Etna is a permitted, combined sewer community which means the storm water and sanitary sewage are collected and carried in one system of piping. During heavy rain events, the capacity of the sewer system to carry away sewage can be exceeded. When that occurs, it is called surcharging and overflows occur into the creeks and streams. This same thing can occur in your basement when your roof runoff enters the same pipe that removes your sanitary sewage. During an intense rainfall, your connecting pipe can be overloaded, causing a backup into your basement through the floor drain. Removing the storm water connection to your service lateral can remedy basement flooding problems in many cases.

When storm water makes its way to the sewage treatment plant (Allegheny County Sanitary Authority ALCOSAN), it is treated like sewage, which increases the cost of sewage for all of us. Correctly removing roof drains from the sewer system by approved and permitted methods can potentially reduce the amount of rainwater that enters the sewer system.

Removal may not work for everyone or in every case. The density of the building and types of soils in our community means removing roof drains in homes located in some areas may not be appropriate. You can also look to minimize runoff from new or existing paved surfaces by installing porous pavements instead of traditional asphalt or concrete.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of downspout disconnection, please contact the Borough Manager for more information at 412-781-0569. You can have a permit application packet mailed out to you, or you can download it. As an incentive for an approved and permitted residential downspout disconnection, a resident will receive a $5.00 quarterly discount on their quarterly environmental sewer surcharge for a three year period based on annual inspections by Borough staff. This discount is per household bill regardless of the number of approved and permitted disconnections at a residence. Rain water collection is a great way to cut down on your water usage as it is great for watering houseplants and garden flowers.

Dumping yard waste (fall leaves, etc.) into any of the streams or storm runs located within the community is illegal. Litter tossed on to the local roads can end up in our combined sewer system and cause serious problems to downstream neighbors. Anyone caught draining oil and other liquids from their vehicle into a storm drain will be prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. See Ordinance No. 1215 for Anti-Dumping Regulations.
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437 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15223   I      (412) 781-0569

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