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SD1 Board approves changes to Backup Assistance Program to make it easier for customers to get help

The Sanitation District No. 1 (SD1) Board of Directors approved at its August meeting changes to the District’s Backup Assistance Program.

The goal is to make it easier for customers to take advantage of financial assistance if they experience wet-weather-related sanitary sewer backups in their homes and basements.

The program, which was established in 2017, offers financial assistance to homeowners for the installation of a backup solution, which is designed to protect homes and property from future sanitary sewer backups.

Customers work with a licensed plumber of their choice to determine the best solution for their home – typically a backflow valve, which is a device that allows water to flow only away from the home during a rain event.

In most cases SD1 will pay the full cost of the backup solution but, to date, only 25 people have completed the program.

Following multiple major storms in recent months that resulted in numerous basement backups, SD1 reached out to local residents to figure out why more have not taken advantage of the program.

The District determined that there were four factors limiting participation:

• A requirement that the homeowner experience two documented backups prior to applying

• A $5,000 cap on program reimbursement

• A requirement that customers pay for the backup solution and then get reimbursed

• A requirement that the program’s release of claims be recorded with the county clerk’s office


“We set up the Backup Assistance Program to help people who are dealing with the very frustrating experience of a basement backup,” said SD1 Executive Director Adam Chaney. “When we began to talk to people across the region, we discovered there were a few impediments to receiving that help. So our Board of Directors decided to fix that.”

There is no longer a requirement of two documented backups.

Chaney said SD1 staff knows where the problem areas are, and that it doesn’t make sense to make a new homeowner wait until they’ve had multiple backups to install a solution.

“If you live in an area where we know there have been issues,” he said, “you should be able to take advantage of this program no matter how long you’ve lived in your home.”

SD1 has also increased the cap to $10,000, with the caveat that the District will still review plumber quotes and require additional information if a quote seems high. The average cost of a backup solution – from investigation through installation – is less than $5,000.

Customers are also no longer required to pay a plumber and then be reimbursed.

“We know there are a lot of people who can’t afford the up-front cost of getting a backflow valve installed,” Chaney said. “So we looked at the program and concluded there is no reason why SD1 cannot pay contracted plumbers directly.”

Finally, participants in the program are no longer required to have their release of claims recorded at the county clerk’s office.

Sanitary sewer backups occur during heavy rainfall in areas where storm water and wastewater from homes and businesses flows through the same pipes. These types of combined sewer systems, some built over 100 years ago, often become overwhelmed by excess storm water during heavy rains.

As more and more storm water flows into the system, the pipes become inundated and force a mixture of storm water and sewage back into homes through floor drains, toilets and other plumbing fixtures connected to the public sewer system.

Any customer experiencing a sewer backup should contact SD1 immediately at (859) 579-7450, select Option 1 and report the backup. 

These “trouble calls” are documented and tracked to help SD1 identify problem areas, offer assistance to homeowners and plan projects to better manage flooding and drainage issues.

For more information about SD1’s Backup Assistance Program and to find out if you qualify, click here, call (859) 578-7450 or email info@sd1.org.

SD1 is responsible for the collection and treatment of Northern Kentucky’s wastewater and also serves as the regional storm water management agency. SD1 is the second largest public sewer utility in Kentucky, serving more than 290,000 residents throughout Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

SD1 maintains approximately 1,600 miles of sanitary-sewer system pipeline, 121 wastewater pumping stations, 15 flood pump stations, six package treatment plants, three major wastewater treatment plants, 416 miles of storm-sewer system and 31,106 storm-sewer structures.

Sanitation District No. 1

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