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SD1 Announces Assistance Available to Those Hit by Sewer Backups

Sanitation District 1 announced Friday that it is inviting people impacted by sewer backups in their homes in recent weeks to apply for financial assistance.

The utility maintains a backup assistance program, established in 2017. 

“SD1 is charged with providing safe and reliable storm water services to our customers,” said SD1 Executive Director Adam Chaney. “We are planning several improvement projects in strategic areas that will help address flooding and sewer backups, but none of these projects will completely eliminate the risk of flooding during extreme weather. Our Backup Assistance Program is in place to protect homes when storm systems become inundated during major rain events.”

Many homes in Covington were impacted by recent heavy rainfall, particularly in areas where storm and waste water flow through the same pipes, or combined sewer systems.

Some of those systems were built a century ago and 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.

Patti Higgins, a Latonia resident and SD1 customer, knows all too well the damage sanitary sewer backups can wreak on home and property. After experiencing several backups in her basement, Higgins decided to take advantage of the Backup Assistance Program offered by SD1, a news release said.

“I filled out the paperwork, hired a plumber to install a backflow valve, submitted the bill to SD1 and got reimbursed for the work within the month,” said Higgins. “I used to watch the radar and run down to the basement to get everything off the floor when rain was in the forecast. Now when we have huge rainstorms, I don’t worry. I know my property is protected by the backflow valve.”

Any customer experiencing a sewer backup should contact SD1 at 859.578.7450 and select option 1 to 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.

Customers who qualify to participate will work with a licensed plumber of their choice to determine the best backup solution for their home. This is typically either a backflow valve, a device that allows water to flow in only one direction during a rain event – away from the home; or a sewage ejector pump, which lifts sewage up and out of a customer’s property and discharges it back into the public sewer system. In many cases, SD1 will provide the full cost of the backup solution.

“SD1 gave me a solution to protect my home and property from sewer water,” said Higgins. “It’s given me peace of mind.”

For more information about SD1’s Backup Assistance Program and to find out if you qualify, visit

“SD1 is eager to work with homeowners to find solutions to flooding and other weather-related issues that affect our region,” Chaney said. “The Backup Assistance Program is the most effective tool to help protect public health and property during these major rain events that appear to be happening on a more frequent basis.”

-Staff report

Photo: A City of Covington crew responds to rain damage (City of Covington)