Combined Sewer Service Area Downspout Disconnection Program

Shorewood's combined sewer system serves the area of the Village generally located east of Oakland Avenue (map). This area has been particularly prone to basement back-ups and has long been the focus of efforts to improve system capacity (please see What's Been Done page)..

As a member community of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Village of Shorewood incorporates all District operation rules by reference in the Shorewood Village Code. MMSD Chapter 3 Management, Operations, and Maintenance of Tributary Sewers requires the disconnection of downspouts within the combined sewer service area by January 1, 2025.

Shorewood's Combined Sewer Service Area Downspout Disconnection Program was adopted by the Shorewood Village Board on February 1, 2021 and identifies the process by which the Village will comply with MMSD's rule.

Why is downspout disconnection important?

A significant source of clear water within the combined sewer system is from rain which falls on a roof and flows through a building's gutters and into downspouts which are connected to the combined sewer. During a rain event, this clear water can easily overwhelm the sewer system and lead to basement backups and sewage overflows directly into our neighboring waterways. Disconnecting downspouts that are directly connected to the sewer system can help reduce the risk of basement backups. Every drop counts!

rain barrel pic2

Who is required to disconnect?

Owner of residential properties with four (4) units or less which are located in the combined sewer service area (map) may be required to disconnect their downspouts. 

Are all downspouts required to be disconnected?

No. Downspouts must meet the following criteria in order to be properly disconnected:

  • have sufficient space available to locate the discharge point at least five (5) feet away from basement or foundation walls and property line(s)
  • pervious surface available at the discharge point
  • the discharge location is level or slopes away from the structure but not so steep it would cause erosion
  • the discharge will not create ice on pedestrian walkways or otherwise create a nuisance for adjoining properties

How do I know if my downspouts are required to be disconnect?

Following a site evaluation, a disconnection notice will be issued by the Village's Plumbing Inspector. Project implementation will be phased and notices will be issued based on the timeline outlined in the DDP plan.

Whos is responsible? What is the cost to disconnect my downspouts?

Property owners are responsible to keep or bring their properties into compliance with current Codes and regulations. In most cases, the cost to disconnect a downspout is minimal and can be done by a "handy" homeowner. 

Are there penalties if I chose not to disconnect?

The Village must be in compliance with the Chapter 3 Rule by January 1, 2025. Individual properties within each of the three implementation zones will have interim compliance dates. Non-compliant property owners will be notified by the Shorewood Plumbing Inspector and additional inspections andreinspection fees may apply.