Sewer Problems - What Do I Do Now?

Tell Me About My Sewer Connection

Did you know that you as a property owner you have the responsibility of maintaining the building sewer connection pipe that takes wastewater from your building/home to the public sewer main?

The building sewer pipe that extends from a private building to the public sewer main (which is typically located in the street) is owned by the property owner. The building sewer pipe typically ranges in size from four to six inches in diameter. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the entire building sewer pipe from its connection to the City sewer main all the way to the building.

The number one reason for a sewer backup is that there is a blockage in the building sewer pipe due to roots or improper materials going down the drain or being flushed. Keeping the pipe free of debris such as roots, paper products, and grease, allows the wastewater to flow freely. 

Property owners are required to maintain the entire length of the building sewer pipe, which includes that portion that may be located under the street, to the point where it connects to the City sewer main. A sewer backup up usually is due to a building sewer pipe that requires maintenance and a plumber specializing in maintenance of building sewers will be needed to cut roots or eliminate a blockage.  

In a very limited number of cases there may be a backup in the public sewer main into which the building sewer drains  

Recommended Steps to Take for Sewer Issues

The following are suggested steps to determine the cause of a sewer backup:

  • Call the City Wastewater Department at 589-3560.  Wastewater will send crews to check the City sewer main.  If the City sewer main is backed up, the wastewater crews will address the blockage which will relieve the backup in the building sewer pipe. In most situations the City sewer main is not the cause of a backup into a private building.
  • Call a plumber. The property owner must find a plumber that specializes in investigating building sewers that has the ability to remove the blockage.  This can be done by searching the internet using terms like “plumber”, “building sewer” and/or “blockage in pipe”.  If possible, get quotes from several businesses.
  • In most cases, a camera inspection will be needed to learn the issue causing the backup and the condition of the pipe.  Then a decision can be made on the best course of action by the property owner.
  • Determine if a back flow preventer is needed to prevent future sewer backups.
engineering 1 sewer house diagram