Brookfield trustees next week are expected to resurrect a cost-sharing program it first initiated in 2013 to help single-family homeowners install flood-protection measures including backflow prevention valves and overhead sewers in their homes.
Elected officials on March 14 indicated support for updating and restarting the flood-prevention program, which will reimburse homeowners 50 percent of the cost (up to certain maximums) for installing the systems.
The 18.5-percent increase in the water rate Brookfield trustees approved last fall will allow the village to set aside $300,000 annually for the program, which will reimburse homeowners once systems are installed and inspected.
There are three flood-prevention options residents can choose to install, including overhead sewers, a backflow prevention valve with bypass pump or a backflow prevention valve only.
Backflow prevention valves are the simplest flood-control measures homeowners can choose. The devices simply prevent sewers from backing up into a home with a valve that only allows water to travel away from the home and closes off the system if it senses any backflow. The village will reimburse homeowners who choose that system up to $3,000.
A more expensive variation is a backflow prevention valve with a bypass pump. The valve works in the same way as the less expensive option, but it utilizes a pump to direct any water from the home around the valve and into the sewer system beyond.
Such a system would allow homeowners to use showers and washing machines during heavy rain events, something homeowners with simple backflow prevention valves might want to avoid. The reimbursement from the village for the valve and bypass pump would be up to $4,000.
Homeowners could also choose to install overhead sewers, which are already mandated for any new home construction in Brookfield, which are the most effective flood-prevention solution and also the most expensive.
Under the cost-share plan, the village would reimburse a homeowner up to $5,000 for installation of overhead sewers.
Public Works Director Carl Muell and Village Manager Timothy Wiberg, however, recommended that elected officials change some of the 2013 requirements for homeowners obtaining project approval to streamline the process.
In the past, homeowners were required to obtain three bids and then submit those to the village, which would choose the lowest bid. Wiberg said he’d like to change that requirement.
“Staff cannot recommend vendors, and a typical homeowner may not know three contractors to choose from,” Wiberg said. “We have a pretty good sense of what that [flood-prevention option] should cost, so if a homeowner came to us with an application that had one quote and it was way high, then we’d work with that homeowner and maybe give them a list of contractors that we know of to get that price down.”
Wiberg said the 2013 program resulted in burdening staff with seeking authorizations and notarizing documents, “and it just seemed we could streamline this process.”
The program will be administered by the Brookfield Community and Economic Development Department and there would be no need for any applications to be approved by the board of trustees. Inspections would be carried out by the village’s third-party vendor B&F Construction Code Services Inc.
Wiberg said he and Muell are working to put together a pamphlet about the program that the village can post on its website or give to those expressing interest in participating.