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Seasonal Water & Sewer Tips: Autumn

Autumn Water & Sewer Tips

Prevent Flooding - Homeowners can help themselves and avoid messy problems by remembering to take some simple steps to help prevent flooding.

  • Keep curb, gutter, and storm drains free of leaves, trash, and debris. This will allow water to drain properly, minimizing ponding and localized flooding.
  • Make sure roof drains, foundation drains and sump pumps are connected to the storm sewer system and not the sanitary sewer system. When improperly connected, these devices may cause the sanitary sewer system to surcharge and back up through floor drains and other plumbing fixtures. If you are not sure if your drains are connected properly, call the Public Works office at (630) 377-4405. We will be glad to assist homeowners and business owners in evaluating their drainage systems.
  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) identify areas of high risk and are available at the St. Charles Public Library, (630) 584-0076, or the St. Charles Engineering Office, (630) 377-4486. Check the maps to see if your home is at high risk for flooding and if flood insurance might be warranted.

Winterize Your Water - There are several things that homeowners can do during the fall months to protect their homes from winter water damage. Before the cold weather hits, be sure to:

  • Open outside water faucets and close the line inside the home.
  • Locate and mark the main water valve for your home and make sure the adults in your house know where it is located. Water damage can be minimized if all adults know where to turn off the water in the event of an emergency.
  • Insulate any pipes that are near outside walls, under the home (in crawl spaces) or in the attic.
  • If you have had problems with lines freezing in the past, inspect the lines before the winter hits. In addition to insulating the pipes, seal any gaps in the walls with caulk or other means. Repair broken windows and doors to the outside so they close tightly. Check with your local hardware store for other effective ways of insulating and sealing gaps.
  • If vents will not close, cover them from the inside with insulation, cardboard, plastic, or newspaper.
  • Shut off and drain outdoor sprinkler systems.
  • Drain your swimming pool properly. Check our Guidelines for Draining Swimming Pools for how to drain your pool while protecting our watershed.

Plan Before You Plant - Fall is a prime time for planting trees and shrubs because watering requirements are lower. Consider the following as you plan for fall landscaping:

  • Consider the plant's needs for moisture, sunlight, etc. in advance. Some trees require a large amount of water, making them perfect for a swampy area but a poor choice for dryer ground.
  • Improve the soil structure. Work organic material such as peat moss or compost into the soil to help retain water and assist in plant growth. Aerating your yard once a year also will help it retain water.
  • Cut down on grass. Grass requires up to four times as much water as other plants. Cut back on the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs or ground cover or putting in rock gardens.
  • Water efficiently. Use a sprinkler or soaker hose with a low application rate (about one-third inch per hour) and check for even coverage. Established grass only needs an inch of water each week.
  • Make the most of mulches. Three to four inches of mulch on top of the soil, especially before fall rains, will reduce water needs, moderate soil temperature and inhibit weed growth.
  • Choose climate friendly plants. Many native plants can survive on rainwater alone, and they're more disease and insect resistant.
  • Care for what you plant. Weed and prune regularly to ensure water is going where it's needed.
updated Dec 04, 2011