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Private Drain Program – City of Chicago

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City of Chicago:
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Chicago's Private Drain program: What You Should Know

Since January of 2002, the City of Chicago has made steps to “…help alleviate the financial burden homeowners incur when a sewer repair is required in the public way.”

What does this mean, and if you live in Chicago and don’t already know, why does this matter?

The City of Chicago’s Private Drain Program is a unique invention of bureaucracy and city planning.  What the city does is help take care and take charge of unique situations where the municipal sewer or water lines that run under a homeowner’s property—with the pipes being the property of the city and the property being the property of the homeowner—break, malfunction, or otherwise experience problems.

Without this program—which many cities, especially ones as large and complex as Chicago, do not possess—the homeowner would have to pay $15,000 in repairs for a drain or line that’s not even technically theirs.

But with the Private Drain Program, the cost of repairing a sewer or water line that is “in the public way”—in other terms, a place of such common use to the public where an immediate repair is required for the sake of safety and convenience—is totally assumed by the city.

Here’s how it works.

The Chicago Private Drain Program Points and the procedure

Note: The professionals at Parks’ Plumbing & Sewer use the City PDP Program very often, and we can facilitate the entire process.  Just call today and we’ll be on our way!

  • Procedure: Homeowner calls 311 and refers to the Private Drain Program.

  • Program: Includes residential properties up to and including four units.

  • Procedure: A Department of Water Management crew is dispatched to investigate.

  • Program: Maintenance and rodding of the private drain will remain the responsibility of the homeowner.

  • Procedure: The crew informs the homeowner whether the problem is in the main sewer or in the private drain.

  • Program: The program will save the average homeowner $15,000  in repairs.

  • Procedure: If the problem is in the private drain, it is recommended that the homeowner hire a city licensed sewer contractor.

  • The contractor hired must call the Department of Water Management Permit Section at 312.744.3155 to obtain a permit to rod and videotape the private drain.

  • The contractor would then call the Inspections Section at 312.744.5503 to schedule an appointment with a house drain inspector to be present for the rodding and taping of private drain line.

  • The contractor must provide videotape of private drain line to the house inspector.

  • If the line can be opened by rodding, no Department of Water Maintenance action will be taken.

  • If the line cannot be opened by rodding, then the sewer contractor and the Department of Water Maintenance inspector determines if the break is on private property or in the public way.

  • If the break is on private property, the homeowner must hire a city licensed sewer contractor to repair the private drain line.

  • If the break is in the public way, the Department of Water Maintenance will repair the private drain line.

Private Drain program links

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