Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

Contact us on email!

Basement Apartment Issues and How to Prevent Waste and Stormwater Problems

If you own or manage a property in New York City with low-lying units, you may already have encountered basement apartment issues, such as stormwater damage or sewage backups. If you haven’t yet dealt with these problems, they may still await in your future, with predictions for increasing severe weather events. And if you’re new to property ownership, management, or landlord duties, you might not be aware of these concerns. Here are four ways you can deal with waste and stormwater problems in basement apartments to minimize property damage, tenant complaints, and even legal consequences.

1. Make Sure Basement Apartments Meet Building Code Requirements

Egress for safety

After hurricanes and tropical storms hit New York City hard last fall, resulting in fatalities due to flooding, the local government has been cracking down on illegal basement residences. The city’s building code states that one aspect of being legal is that there must be a window in each room of the apartment, and ceilings must be at least seven feet high.

Without these requirements, basement apartments can become death traps if flood waters overwhelm them. While we recommend adding sump pumps (see below), should they not be enough in extreme storms, you want your tenants to get out safely. And of course, you don’t want to incur citations and fees from the city or lawsuits for failing to give tenants proper emergency egress.

2. Remove Waste and Prevent Backups with a Sewage Ejector Pump

Backup prevention in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry areas

Low-lying properties of all kinds – not just basement apartments – are subject to sewage backups in kitchen and bathroom sinks as well as in toilets, dishwashers, and laundry rooms. This is because units at higher levels have the flow of gravity to assist with the drainage of sewage and wastewater to the sewer main. Without gravity, waste and greywater can sit just below these fixtures until it accumulates to the point where it backs up into the home’s interior.

These backups result in unpleasant odors and render fixtures and washing appliances unusable. They can also pose health consequences and violate city building codes that make rental properties habitable.

There’s an easy solution: a sewage ejector pump. This type of pump holds waste in a small basin beneath a kitchen, bath, or laundry room. When a sensor in the basin indicates the basin is nearly full, the pump is activated to push the waste toward the sewer main for permanent removal. Some pumps, known as sewage grinder pumps, pulverize the waste first, similar to a garbage disposal, making it easier to propel away from the property.

You still can’t put forbidden items (baby wipes, cooking grease, etc.) down the drain with a sewage ejector pump. But these pumps do a fantastic job of preventing backups from waste that has been appropriately disposed of in the kitchen or bath.

3. Eliminate Rising Water at Low Levels by Installing a Sump Pump

Rainstorm must-have

Sump pumps remove water rising from below in basements and low-level apartments. Usually, this water is caused by rainstorm runoff or snowmelt, but it can also be present if your property is located in places with higher water tables or closer to sea level. Certain areas in Queens, for example, meet that description, and they suffered some of the worst damage after Hurricane Ida.

Like a sewage ejector pump, a sump pump employs a sensor in a basin to alert the pump when water is rising too high and threatening a property’s interior. The pump is turned on automatically, and water is propelled away from the building to a safer, more absorbent place nearby.

Sump pumps are ideal if you’ve had water in your basement or low-level apartments before. They prevent damage to the interior’s finishes and to tenants’ property. They also reduce the risk of electric shock during storms when high water would otherwise reach the level of electrical wiring and outlets.

4. Landscape for Weather Events that Increase Stormwater

Green initiatives

As well as adding a sump pump, you can further reduce the probability of interior flooding and water damage by making your property more resistant outside. The city has begun a stormwater initiative with larger rental buildings to replace hard paved areas with landscaping that absorbs rainwater and prevents or reduces runoff.

Even if your property isn’t big enough to qualify for this program, you can make changes on your own, including:

  • Add soft landscaping in place of asphalt or concrete to catch rainwater. In addition to plants, you can use gravel or porous stone to slow down rain runoff.
  • Use thirsty ground cover plants under trees and on slopes where you have bare soil.
  • Make sure your rain gutters are clear of debris and in good condition.
  • Check to ensure downspouts aren’t clogged and are pointed away from your structure, channeling water a safe distance from the foundation.
  • Consider using rain barrels to catch and store rainwater for use later (watering plants, cleaning the sidewalk, washing vehicles, etc.).
  • Regularly remove trash and other unwanted material from around your property so they don’t flow into storm drains and clog the sewer system, which is already overloaded.
  • Participate in local city government at the borough or neighborhood level, where sewer improvements and storm mitigation efforts are underway.

Want to learn more about adding a sewage ejector pump and/or sump pump to your property? These devices should be installed by professionals, like Antler Pumps, to be certain they are sized appropriately and set up correctly. When necessary, we work in conjunction with our partners at Sanitary Plumbing for these installations, so you get comprehensive service that you know is done right.

We also perform routine maintenance on sewage ejector and sump pumps, which extends their lifespan and ensures they work properly when you need them most. Call us at 212-534-2500 or use our online form to set up a consultation. Don’t wait until you have a sewage backup or rainwater disaster to take action. Reach out today.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your Sanitaryplumbing.com password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since omniagroup.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.