Barrington trustees Monday approved a reimbursement program offering up to $10,000 to homeowners who dealt with a sanitary sewer backup during either of two major rain storms in 2013.
The money is to be used to cover some of the cost of retrofitting older houses with overhead sewers -- systems which largely keep newer homes free of such problems, Barrington Public Works Director Mark Werksman said.
To be eligible, homeowners must have documentation in the form of receipts, invoices or photographs which prove they experienced a sanitary sewer backup due to rain in 2013.
The program's public benefit is that in exchange for the reimbursement, these residents must remove all their homes' connections releasing stormwater into the sanitary sewer, such as down spouts, foundation drains, sump pumps, window well drains or driveway drains.
Such connections are common in all older communities, Werksman explained, adding that sanitary and storm sewers weren't separated in the first place until the 1950s.
But that separation was done for a reason, and any reduction that can be made to the inflow of stormwater into the sanitary sewer should be encouraged, Werksman said.
This is true even if not every single connection in town can be removed by one such program, he added.
"There's huge value," Werksman said.
The public works department believes there were about 30 affected homes in the village this year, of different ages and scattered across many neighborhoods.
The village will begin sending informational letters in early January to the households it knows were affected. Though that would be a good time to start work on such a preventive system, Werksman said he doesn't expect his phone to start ringing until the rain starts falling in the spring.
Barrington is trying to create an incentive to get the work done quicker by offering the full $10,000 per household only during the first year of the program. In 2015, it switches to only a $7,500 grant or a combination of a $5,000 grant with a $5,000 loan.
Houses built since the late '70s or early '80s have had overhead sewers as a standard part of their construction, Werksman said.