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The Public Works Division of the Public Service Department is dedicated to providing quality and professional research, investigation and repair of the community’s sanitary sewer, stormwater and potable water systems in the most efficient manner possible.

Sewer & Stormwater Illustration

The Upper Arlington Public Service Department regularly cleans and inspects the approximately 143 miles of public sanitary sewer lines in Upper Arlington. This work involves crews placing a special video camera into the sewer to inspect the lines for potential blockages caused by tree roots, grease build-up, etc. If the crews identify any kind of blockage, the line is cleaned using a high-pressure water system. Much of this infrastructure is located in the rear easements which require the Public Works Division personnel to have access to back yards in order to perform maintenance and repair.

On rare occasions, this high-pressure cleaning can create a surge of air bubbles to travel into private laterals causing water in your toilets to gurgle or even splash out a little. Additionally, the cleaning process may cause an odor in your home which will fade away after the cleaning process is complete. If you see our crews in your area, we recommended making sure that all toilet seats and lids are down to avoid any splashing that may (rarely) occur.


The Upper Arlington Public Service Department regularly cleans and inspects the approximately 98 miles of varying size pipes, 2,100 manholes and 3,300 catch basins in Upper Arlington. This work involves crews removing leaves, bottles and sticks, and masonry repairs to catch basins grates to ensure proper drainage. Crews remove limbs and debris from the City’s 28 road culverts. Line repairs are made throughout the year on broken storm tiles in the City’s right-of-way, to include drainage swales and no-curb streets.

In 2009, an Ohio EPA mandate resulted in the City’s implementation of the Stormwater Management Plan. The plan provides:

  • A city-wide drainage master plan that undertakes a systematic approach to planning facilities and programs for the control and disposal of stormwater;
  • The continual regulation and enforcement of drainage requirements for new developments as well as existing developments;
  • A capital improvement plan to construct new storm drainage facilities and replace old and deteriorating ones;
  • A maintenance program for the periodic and planned repair and cleaning of the entire public storm drainage system.

Changes in Our Environment
Intense residential and commercial growth has significantly reduced the amount of undeveloped or “rain-absorbing” land in the City. Homes and businesses have brought with them rooftops, driveways, parking lots and paved streets – hard surfaces that send rainwater rushing off into our natural and man-made drainage systems at a faster rate.

Physical State of Our Stormwater System
Upper Arlington’s storm drainage system is aging. This, combined with increasing demands arising from the City’s development over the years, have resulted in a deteriorating system that is not able to adequately handle run-off from a
major storm.

As stormwater run-off has intensified over the years, it has become increasingly important that the City take precautionary steps to protect Upper Arlington citizens and surrounding communities from property damage and inconvenience when a major storm hits the area.


Effective January 2011, the annual stormwater utility maintenance fee was increased to $45. This is the first time this fee has been increased from its original price of $33 since the program was implemented in 1991.

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Stormwater (7)

Options include installing a rain garden or hiring a contractor to install a small yard drain in the area where the water ponds and pipe it out to the street.

The benefits are not site specific. Run-off from your property combines with that from other lots, accumulating to become part of the problem downstream. Benefits are gained throughout the City by minimizing the flooding of roads, intersections, and downstream properties.

No, it is a utility fee just like your water or electric bills, and is therefore not tax deductible.

Call the Utility Division during office hours of Monday-Friday, 7 am -3:30 pm. If you have an after-hours emergency, please call 583-5410. Sewer overflows and backups negatively impact the environment if waste materials enter the storm sewers or water table.

Pour several gallons of water in all basement floor drains, run water in any unused sinks and shower stalls, and flush any unused toilets. These fixtures should have built in traps (“U” shaped pipes), designed to hold water and act as a barrier to prevent sewer gases from entering the home.

Storm sewers drain directly to streams which empty into the Scioto or Olentangy rivers, therefore chemicals are not filtered out before reaching natural waterways.

The stormwater fee is used to repair and maintain the City’s existing stormwater system. It is not designed to make improvements on private property.

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