Sewer Maintenance Tips and Back Up Prevention

Sewage backups into your home, business, or other buildings can occur during heavy rains in areas served by either combined or sanitary sewer lines. Backups can also occur during dry weather when there are debris blockages in the lines.

The majority of sewer backups into homes or buildings are not caused by a failure of the public sewer system, but rather an issue with the private plumbing system. Regardless of cause, building backups are most likely to occur during heavy rainfall.

Some Basic Information on how the plumbing works:

Wastewater flows through small lines on your property to the larger, sewer main in the street. From there, the sewage travels by gravity or pressure to the treatment plant. The flow is constant, with peaks in the morning and evening. Each day millions of gallons of wastewater safely reach the treatment plant to be reclaimed and returned to the environment.

Unfortunately, a blockage in the sewer line can interfere with this normally quiet, out-of-sight process. A blockage in the private or sewer main causes a backup through floor drains and toilets at the lowest point in your home or business. The overflow will continue until the blockage is removed or until sewage is no longer entering the line.

Here are some preventive steps you can do to help prevent them.

• Have the sewer line that connects your home or building to the sewer main inspected and cleaned regularly by a licensed plumbing contractor.
• Flush root eliminator products down your toilet to help prevent tree roots from growing in your sewer. These products are available at most hardware stores.
• Avoid flushing diapers, feminine hygiene products and materials other than toilet paper down your toilet.
• Properly dispose of leaves and grass clippings to prevent them from washing into storm sewers, causing blockages and possible flooding.
• Never dump oil, paint, grease, or any hazardous chemicals into a stormwater inlet, sanitary sewer drain, or other sewer structure.
• Never pipe a sump pump, downspout or driveway drain into a sanitary sewer line.
• Properly grade your yard away from your home.
• Avoid filling in or building over graded low areas in your yard, also known as swales. Doing so can affect stormwater flow.

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