Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions that the Public Works Department addresses:
Q: Does the City provide a brush pickup service?
A: No, the City itself does not have a brush pickup service for brush generated from a tree on private property. The City’s contractual waste hauler will collect brush as specified in the yard waste section.
Q: What is the City doing to address the emerald ash borer?
A: The emerald ash borer was discovered in Wheaton in 2010, but the City has had an ash tree reduction program in place since 2008. The program is targeting trees that were classified to be in fair or poor condition because sick trees succumb to the emerald ash borer more quickly than healthy trees. Learn more about what the City is doing to address the emerald ash borer.
Q: Is the City involved in the spraying of parkway trees?
A: No, the City does not spray chemicals on parkway trees.
Q: Does the City answer questions regarding trees located on private property?
A: The City will attempt to answer questions regarding diseases or pest problems, but the City will not do a hazard evaluation of privately owned trees.
Q: Is the Forestry Division responsible for trees in the city parks?
A: No, the Park District has its own staff that maintains trees in the park system, with the exception of Adams Park, which is maintained by the City.
Q: Who do I call if I am having a sewer backup or a slow drainage problem?
A: Always call the Sewer Division first at 630-260-2121, 630-260-2110 or for after-hours calls or weekends, 630-260-2161. Let us make sure the mainline sewer is functioning properly prior to calling a plumber. We will advise you when we have cleaned and checked the main sewer.
Q: Does the City bear any responsibility for the sewer line from my house?
A: In Wheaton, the homeowner owns the sewer line from the house all the way to the City sewer main, including the connection to the main. The City does not bear any responsibility for the private sewer in the right-of-way.
Q: What do I do if my driveway culvert does not drain properly?
A: The ditches and driveway culverts are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain.
Q: What do I do if the retention pond near my home is not draining?
A: Please wait 48 hours and let the retention pond do its job prior to calling unless there is an imminent danger to your property.
Q: What can I do if my neighbor’s sump pump is discharging into my yard?
A: Please call the Public Works Engineer at 630-260-2127 with sump pump discharge issues.
Q: Does the City repair broken curbs?
A: The City does not normally replace broken curbs. Deteriorated curbs are usually replaced when the street is reconstructed as part of the Annual Road Program. The City will temporarily patch broken curbs with asphalt.
Homeowners wishing to replace the curb in front of their driveway may do so, at their own expense. The City will assist the homeowner by removing and disposing of the selected curb. Once the homeowner has had the curb replaced, the City will then repair the street in front of the new curb.
Q: Who is responsible for drive approaches?
A: The drive approach is the responsibility of the property owner. Permits are required prior to any work commencing in the City right of way and can be obtained at the City’s Engineering Department. In addition, contractors must have a current license and bond on file with the City.
Q: When will my street be plowed?
A: The City’s 165 miles of streets are divided into 15 snow plow routes that have been set up for the optimum use of the available equipment and personnel. The main thoroughfares and collector streets are given top priority. Secondary and residential streets are plowed once the main streets have been cleared. The cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets usually are the last areas to be cleared of snow.
Q: Why does it take so long to clean up the cul-de-sacs?
A: There are approximately 270 cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets within the City. Cul-de-sacs are more difficult and time-consuming to clear because of the limited space in the parkways to dump snow. Smaller pickup trucks with plows are needed to maneuver the snow around driveways, mailboxes, street lights, fire hydrants and parkway trees.
Q: Why does my driveway get “plowed in” when a snowplow passes my house?
A: The City’s snow plows are designed to push snow to the side of the roadway. This is the fastest and most efficient means available to remove snow from the street and open the street to traffic. When clearing your drive, do not pile snow on the side of oncoming traffic where it could be pushed back into the drive.
Q: Who do I call if a streetlight is out?
A: If you notice that a streetlight in your neighborhood is not functioning properly, please report it as soon as possible. A repair request should be made to either the City of Wheaton or ComEd, depending on which entity maintains the lights.
Lights on metal poles are maintained by the City, and repair requests should be made to Street Services at 630-260-2116. For streetlights supported by a wooden pole, report problems via the ComEd website or call 800-334-7661.
Q: Is Wheaton’s water safe?
A: All water supplied to Wheaton customers meets or exceeds state and federal regulations for drinking water. The city collects 60 bacteriological samples monthly as well as numerous other samples required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Results of some of these samples are reported in the annual Water Quality Report, which is mailed to all water users in June.
Q: Why do I have low water pressure?
A: Most low pressure complaints are related to out-of-service water softeners. If you are no longer using your water softener, it needs to be bypassed with valves or removed from the system. Unplugging the softener doesn’t eliminate water from passing through it, and it can reduce pressure. Plumbing fixtures can also become clogged by particles from faulty water heater dip tubes. Normal water pressure in Wheaton varies between 50 and 75 pounds per square inch.
Q: Why is my water bill high?
A: Most high bills are caused by leaking toilets. Leaking faucets, malfunctioning water softeners and water-powered sump pumps also are seen as the cause of high bills. Plumbing fixtures should be checked regularly. Toilet flush valves can be checked by adding food coloring to the flush tank, and if the color enters the bowl without flushing, the flapper valve is probably leaking.
Q: Who should I contact for billing complaints?
A: Contact the Finance Department at 630-260-2024.
Q: Who should I contact to start/stop water service when moving in/out of a new house?
A: Contact the Finance Department at 630-260-2024.
Q: When are watering restrictions in effect?
A: Restrictions on watering lawns run from May 15 through Sept. 15. Buildings with an odd-numbered street address may water lawns and gardens only on days of the month having odd numbers. Buildings with an even-numbered street address may water lawns and gardens only on days of the month having even numbers. No watering is allowed between the hours of noon and 6 p.m.
Q: Who should I call if I have a water problem?
A: Call the Water Division at 630-260-2090 during business hours, which are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. After hours and on weekends, the Water Department can be reached by calling the Wheaton Police Department at 630-260-2161.
Q: What causes the banging or popping noise in some water heaters?
A: Harmless minerals in water form on rough coatings inside the heater. As the water is heated up, these bubbles burst, causing a popping noise. Occasional flushing of the water heater will help to reduce this problem.
Q: How hard is my water?
A: Wheaton water, which uses Lake Michigan as its source, has a hardness of 6-8 grains per gallon.
Q: Why does my water appear cloudy in the winter months?
A: This is caused by increased levels of dissolved oxygen in colder water. Lake water in the winter months can reach temperatures as low as the mid 30's. By drawing water in a clear container, you can see the air bubbles rise to the top as it clears.
Q: Why does my water smell in the late summer or early fall?
A: This musty or earthy odor/taste is caused by blue-green algae, which naturally forms in the lake. If you notice this odor, please contact us so we can forward the information to the DuPage Water Commission. The addition of activated carbon at the treatment plant usually remedies this situation.
Q: Why do I have utility flags in my parkway?
A: All excavators are required to contact J.U.L.I.E. (Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators) prior to a dig so underground cables and pipes aren’t damaged. Dial 811 to contact J.U.L.I.E. for further information.
Q: The Water Division did an excavation in the parkway in front of my house. When will the landscaping be restored?
A: The Water Division performs landscaping restoration in the spring and fall, when weather conditions are ideal for grass seed germination.
Q: What is a cross-connection, and why are they a problem?
A: A cross-connection is a connection between a drinking water pipe and a polluted source. A common example is if you were spraying weed killer on the lawn and the water pressure dropped. The chemical could be sucked back into the water pipes through the hose. Lawn irrigation systems and hot water boilers are examples of cross-connections that require backflow preventors.
Q: How does the Water Department detect a leak in the distribution system piping?
A: 1. Visual detection (water on the ground) by an employee in the field.
2. A loss of pressure in an area.
3. Reports by public-minded citizens.
4. Listening to fire hydrants, valves and curb stops with electronic listening equipment.