Sanitary Sewer Inflow & Infiltration Project

Wet or Damp Basements

During wet weather events such as those experienced in Hamilton on June 2 and September 8, 2016, rain water from improperly connected downspouts and sump pumps can fill and overwhelm sanitary sewers. This can cause combined sewage and rainwater to back up into customer basements. The City of Hamilton has implemented a program to identify and eliminate clean water connections to the sanitary sewer system in order to reduce water in basement occurrences from clean water connections.

Learn more about the causes of wet or damp basements and possible solutions. 

Sanitary Sewer Smoke Testing

The City of Hamilton recently began smoke testing sanitary sewers in the Highland Park area, and crews will continue to other areas of the city as staff identifies additional locations for sanitary sewer smoke testing. The current testing area can be seen on the map below. 

Smoke testing is used by the City in an effort to identify and eliminate potential points of inflow and infiltration in the public portion of the sanitary sewer system, such as clean water connections, that could lead to high flows during storm and snow melt events. During the scheduled tests, City crews introduce smoke into the sanitary sewers. Smoke escaping from building sewer vents, gutters and downspouts, or out of the ground along sewer lines, is part of the testing and is not cause for alarm. 
Smoke Testing Map area 2
Smoke Testing 2
Smoke Testing
Smoke or smoke odor may escape from drains in homes and businesses during testing; however, smoke should not enter a premises with plumbing in good working order and water in all drain traps. Smoke or smoke odor in your home or business during testing may indicate a plumbing issue that can also allow sewer gas to enter the premises. If smoke or smoke odor enters your home or business during testing, notify City crews performing the test or contact the City of Hamilton Utility Customer Service Division at 513.785.7100 - Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST).

The smoke used during testing is not true smoke, but rather a mist containing a large percentage of atmospheric moisture that is highly visible at low concentrations. It will not harm your health or the health of your pet(s), and will not leave any residue or stains. Since any vapor can be an irritant, direct contact with the smoke may cause minor respiratory irritation in some people. For this reason, customers should avoid unnecessary exposure to the test smoke.  

Learn more about sanitary sewer smoke testing with this FAQ.

All testing will be performed on weekdays during normal business hours between 8 am and 3 pm (EST). One to three days prior to the start of smoke testing, door hangers will be distributed to notify customers in the testing area. 

Should a clean water connection be determined at your property, you will be notified of the location and steps to take to correct the situation. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the City of Hamilton Utility Customer Service Division at 513.785.7100 - Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST) - or via email at

Clean Water Removal Assistance Grant

The City of Hamilton offers financial assistance for residents that wish to help in solving the City's inflow and infiltration problem per section 931.032 of the Codified Ordinance. Money is available for disconnecting clean water connections to the sanitary sewer system. The City will pay $1000 per Equivalent Residential Unit. Please contact Customer Service at 513.785.7100 for further information.

Check out this brochure to learn about ways to remove clean water from the sanitary sewer system.

Storm Water Management Resources

For information and resources regarding storm water runoff and management, click here. You can also find helpful information and tips specific to rain gardens and rain barrels, which reduce storm water runoff and improve storm water management and use on your property, in the Landscape Guide for Developers, Businesses and Homeowners