Overhead Sewer Cost Share Program


The Village of Western Springs has developed a cost share program for owners of detached single-family residential structures who participate in the installation and/or retrofit of a backwater check valve (BCV) or overhead sewer system (OSS). The program allows owners of single-family detached homes to be reimbursed up to 50% of the cost, or $5,000 (whichever comes first) to install a BCV or OSS. 

Many older homes in the Village have gravity sewer systems that can back up when the Village's main line combined sewer surcharges.  Since the 1990s the Village has invested millions of dollars to improve its sanitary and combined sewer system, by installing new relief sewers, and separating the combined sewer system, whenever possible. The Village however has over fifty miles of pipe in the ground, some which dates back to the 1920s, and it is unfortunately not feasible to separate all sewer systems in every location.  

The goal of this program is to provide protection against the sewer backups into homes. While no sewer is immune to backup, the most reliable method for protecting private property from sewer backup is through the installation of a BCV or OSS. Modifications of the plumbing inside the home to an overhead system can dramatically reduce the possibility of the backup of sewage into the home or basement when the sewer system is overloaded. Installation of an ejector pit and pump(s) to lift the building sewage above the elevation of the sewer main in the street provides a means of positive protection. Installations of this type can vary depending on the necessary internal modifications required. This program provides applicants meeting the established criteria a one time 50% reimbursement, not to exceed $5,000 for the installation of either a BCV or OSS. Both systems have their merits and drawbacks. The Village does not advocate one system; it is up to the homeowner to research and discuss with qualified, licensed plumbers to decide what is the best solution for their home.

System Comparison

Overhead Sewers
Overhead sewers solve the issue of sewer back-up by raising the height of your private sewer system. If sewers surcharge into the roadway, the water level will still remain lower than the lowest drain in the overhead sewer system. Please see the before/after Overhead Sewer Guide to get a better visual on the level of protection this could provide. Overhead sewers provide the highest level of protection for sewer back-ups, but installation is costly due to the large amount of plumbing work that is required.

Check Valves (Backflow Preventer)

Check valves provide protection for sewer back-up issues at a relatively lower cost. A check valve, or backflow preventer, acts as a one-way gate for your sanitary sewer system. The valve itself is commonly installed in the front yard of residential homes before the sewer service reaches the Village sewer main. The valve allows water to travel to the Village main but prevents water from heading back in the opposite direction into your home. Please see this Backflow Preventer Diagram for more information.

General Steps for Participation in the Program

  • The homeowner/applicant must obtain three (3) quotes from licensed Illinois plumbers, for the proposed work.
    • For the work to be considered in the Program, the homeowner must award the work to the lowest responsible bidder.
    • Attach all three (3) quotes with your completed “Contractor Quote Record”.
  • Complete the “Overhead Sewer System Cost Share Application”.
  • The Village will verify that the homeowner/applicant is in good standing regarding payment of taxes, fees, and other criteria; homeowners will be considered ineligible if:
    • Any unpaid taxes or water bills or other debt is due to the Village. 
    • Any unpaid Village liens are on any property owned by the applicant.
    • Any outstanding Code violations exist that the homeowners has been advised of and have not corrected.
    • Any and all outstanding fees associated with the Village, including vehicle stickers, are not paid in full.
    • Property previously received a reimbursement under the Program. 
    • Once good standing has been verified, the Village will contact the homeowner/applicant and they may proceed in the process. 
  • Complete and submit a Building Permit Application. An electronic application for the proposed work can be found here: Permits & Licenses or a physical application is available at the Community Development Department. Completed “Building Permit Applications” must be submitted to OSScostshare@wsprings.com
  • For general questions regarding the program please contact OSScostshare@wsprings.com