Frequently Asked Questions

We are always open to answering your questions. However, to save you time, we have included some of the most common questions we receive. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us!

General Project Questions

Why are the sanitary sewers overflowing in my neighborhood?

In neighborhoods where the sewer infrastructure is older, pipes are usually made of clay and have become cracked and broken over years of use. Your sanitary lateral is the pipe that carries waste water away from your home and into the sewer main line. During heavy storms, rain water is seeping in through cracks and breaks in the lateral lines. Too much water overwhelms these pipes that were not meant to carry rain water AND sewer water. This causes an overflow, and wastewater and rain water exit through an outfall in a nearby river or stream. By sealing up these pipes through lateral lining and upgrading other sewer infrastructure, Blueprint will prevent sanitary sewer overflows from continuing to happen. Check out the video here!

I’m in a Blueprint area, but there are no markings on the Blueprint map in my area indicating the location of rain gardens or other green infrastructure. Why is this?

Rain gardens and other green infrastructure locations are posted on the online map once the design team has narrowed down preferred site locations. If you do not currently see any green infrastructure locations, it is because the design process is still in its early stages or has not yet begun in your area. Residents will receive notice of a public comment period prior to final location selection, so you will have an opportunity to review any proposed plans.

Who owns the right-of-way where the rain gardens are located?

The City owns the property in the right-of-way outright. The City does not hold an easement on the property, and it is not owned by residents.

Getting Involved: What input can residents have?

Weigh in on plants!

If there is a rain garden planned near you, let us know what plants you would like to see in it! We will leave the final decisions up to our landscape architect and the designers, however we would like to know what plants would appeal to the community for the regional rain gardens as well as the individual rain gardens.

Schedule a site visit.

Online reading not answering your questions? Got a specific concern with how work will affect your property? We are happy to come to you. Email blueprint@columbus.gov and we will set up a meeting with you onsite to address concerns or questions.

All About Rain Gardens

What does a rain garden do?

Rain gardens are essentially a natural filtration system. The rain gardens and pervious pavement used in the Blueprint project collect, filter, and clean rain water before it continues on to the storm sewer and out to the rivers and streams. The rain water comes from the run-off that occurs from yards and along streets in rain events, as well as rain water that is directed out to the street through downspouts and sump pump lines. Check out our rain garden diagram or watch our video to learn more.

How long will it take to construct the rain garden?

Green infrastructure construction for a neighborhood can also include work such as storm sewer improvements/extensions, waterline upgrades, curb work, etc. Total construction time in a neighborhood is generally 18-24 months, though that does not mean you will be directly impacted by that work during the entire duration.

Why are there different types of rain gardens, and can I have a choice of which design I would prefer in front of my home?

Residents cannot select a certain design, though we encourage you to provide us with feedback about your preference on aesthetic elements. We will use that input during the design process. Rain garden designs are determined based on several factors, such as:

•The presence or absence of sidewalks and/or curbs.

•The width of the street.

•Availability of space within the right-of-way.

•Neighborhood characteristics.

Can I opt out of getting a rain garden?

In general, no. However, we welcome resident feedback and are willing to review specific sites to explore all available options.

Each green infrastructure location is strategically chosen by the design engineers based on several factors: presence of underground utilities, tree locations, and points of interest on the street where water tends to collect. If there are specific concerns about the future installation of a rain garden, please contact our Blueprint Outreach Team to discuss further.

Will the rain gardens breed mosquitoes?

The rain gardens have been designed to drain within 48 hours, and mosquitoes typically need 72 hours or more to hatch. During this time, the eggs need to remain moist. The surface of a bioretention cell typically only ponds water for 12 hours following a rainfall event (48 hours maximum). After that, the underdrains reduce soil moisture below ranges needed for mosquito eggs to hatch.

Parking Concerns

Will there be a loss of parking on my street due to the rain gardens and bump outs?

On some streets, there may be a decrease in the amount of available on-street parking. A parking study for each area is completed during the design process to assess parking demand and usage. If parking is restricted due to a rain garden or bump out, this will be indicated on the online map where you can preview the proposed locations.

View The Map

Green Infrastructure Maintenance

Am I responsible for maintaining the rain garden if one is installed in the right-of-way in front of my home?

No! The rain gardens in your neighborhood help collect, clean, and drain stormwater. These rain gardens are connected to the City’s storm sewer system, similar to a curb inlet or manhole. Just like other components of the sewer system, the maintenance and upkeep of the rain gardens will be completed by employees or contractors of the City. Residents are still responsible for maintenance of the right-of-way outside of the rain garden edging, which includes mowing and raking.

Rain Garden Maintenance Care Guide

What if a rain garden needs attention?

Residents can contact 311 or the Blueprint hotline (614-645-1253) to report issues or concerns with the rain garden. If there is an after-hours emergency, residents can contact the Sewer Maintenance Section at 614-645-7102.

Lateral Lining/Roof Water Redirection

When it is time for the lateral lining and downspout redirection, do I need to sign up, and if so, when and where do I do this?

No, you do not need to sign up for these phases of the project. When your project area begins this phase, we will notify all residents in your area. Each house is done on a case-by-case basis, and the resident will be a part of the inspection period to review what work needs to be done, if any.

Learn About Lateral Lining

Sump Pumps

How do I apply for a sump pump?

If you are interested in having a sump pump installed in your home, there are three ways to sign up. You can visit our website at blueprintneighborhoods.com/the-four-pillars/sump-pump/, email us at blueprint@columbus.gov, or call our Outreach Team at 614-645-1253 and select the sump pump hotline. Once you have provided your contact information and address, you will be sent a letter confirming that you have been placed on the waiting list. Our sump pump installation contractor will contact residents in the order they signed up to schedule an inspection to determine if it is feasible to install a sump pump. Each sump pump comes with a battery pack in the case of a power outage, as well as a one-year warranty by the contractor. Sump pump installations and inspections occur at no cost to homeowners.

Learn About Sump Pumps

Will this work cause me to have sewer backups in my basement? Is this why you are offering the sump pump?

No. The goal of the project is to carry away as much rain water as possible from your home. The sump pump is provided as an additional component of the project to address any direct connections of the foundation drain from the lateral line and to mitigate additional rain water from seeping into the sanitary pipe at the connection joints.


Is there anything I need to do as a homeowner in preparation for green infrastructure work?

All green infrastructure work is done on City-owned property, and we do not need access to your home or private property. However, any private items that are in the public right-of-way are subject to removal by the construction workers depending on the required work at your parcel. The safest option is to remove any items that are in the right-of-way, which includes irrigation systems, dog fences, lighting, etc.

You will receive notifications in advance from the contractors before work in front of your home begins. Please feel free to contact the Blueprint Outreach Team to discuss if and how your area will be impacted in more detail.

Will there be any disruption of my utilities during construction?

During construction, there should be minimal disruptions of services. There may be times when your water services are temporarily shut off while the crew works on the waterline. If you are scheduled for a temporary water shut-off, the crew will provide you at minimum a 24-hour notice of the water shut-off and a window of times to expect the interruption.

Will I lose access to my home or driveway during construction?

During construction, there will be times you may have access restricted to your driveway due to the extent of the work taking place. In some cases, we will have to excavate through the driveway apron to install new piping and repave/repair the apron. If this is to take place, the construction crew will provide you with a notice beforehand, so you can make arrangements regarding parking.

My property was damaged during construction by one of the crews. Who is going to repair this?

Any damage that is suspected to have been done by the construction crew needs to be submitted to the Blueprint Outreach Team. Once it has been recorded with the Outreach Team, it will be evaluated by the onsite inspector who will investigate to determine who is at fault. If it is determined the damage was done by the construction crew, they will be responsible for repairing the damage, or you can submit a claim with the contractor through the damage claims process.

I have a fence in my front yard. How will this be impacted during construction?

Any private items that are in the public right-of-way are subject to removal by the construction workers depending on the required work at this parcel and may not be replaced. The safest option is to remove any items that are in the right-of-way, and that includes irrigation systems, dog fences, lighting, etc.

There has been a lot of digging on my street. Will the street be repaved?

Streets will be repaved on a street-by-street basis. The City will evaluate each street to determine which ones need to be repaved. Depending on the extent of paving required, some will be repaved under the Blueprint Columbus project and conducted by the construction firm in that area. Other streets may be added to the Department of Public Services (DPS) repaving schedule. In all instances, Blueprint is required to repair or replace the sections of asphalt that were damaged during construction. This may mean that sometimes only parts of a street will be repaved through Blueprint. For further information, please contact the Blueprint Columbus Outreach Team to see if your street will be repaved under the current project or by DPS.

Outreach Team

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Contact the Blueprint Columbus Outreach Team today!