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Wastewater Maintenance
Sanitary Sewer Backup Prevention
Sewer backups occur when a sewer line becomes full and “backs up” in the opposite direction of normal flow. Although rare, sanitary sewer backups can occur as a result of:
• Heavy rainfall and flooding
• Grease or other “clogging” agents in the sewer line
• Tree root extraction
• Unforseen events that break or block a sewer line such as construction, geological changes or vandalism.
Other things you can do to keep sewer backups from occurring:

Don’t pour grease, fats or oils down the drain. Instead, recycle used cooking oil and grease. Visit the Solid Waste's Hazardous Materials section on our website for more details.   

Who is responsible for repair and maintenance?

The Department of Public Works’ Sewer Division is responsible to ensure that the flow of sewage through the community’s collection system is unobstructed to the treating facility. The division will investigate abnormalities in the main lines by nondestructive methods (visually aided inspections) and by physically disturbing any area within the street layout to accomplish this objective. The maintenance program includes responding to broken or clogged sewer lines, cleaning, and television analysis of sewer lines, installing manholes, controlling sewer odors, inspecting, and approving private connections to the public sewers.

The property owner is responsible for the line that services his/her building up to the property line. However, if a blockage occurs in the service line but is unknown where the blockage is taking place (private or public property), the property owner must make an effort to free the blockage, at his/her expense. This may involve the submission of a report from a vendor that can perform tree root extractions, grease build up removal or other methods to remove common blockages in the building service line, detailing his findings.