Taking Care of Your Sewer

  1. Items commonly found in blocked sewers include:
    • Grease and oils: (bacon grease, peanut butter, butter, frying oils) these will harden in the drain, stick to the sides of the pipe which will trap items filling the drain.
    • Paper products: (baby wipes, diapers, feminine napkins, cigarettes, cotton balls, Q-tips, paper towels and tissues) these do not dissolve in the line-they build up and get caught in the pipe resulting in clogs.
    • Lint and hair: These fine materials mat in the line and are common sink clog problems.
  2. Roots: Gardeners often plant over the tops of sewers and the roots in dry years seek water by breaking into pipes.
  3. Cat Litter: The sand and gravel can easily block a sewer line.
  4. Remember, anything that goes into the sewer system is flushed with water. That water is now dirty and must be cleaned and the debris removed before it can be returned to the river. Oil Paint and fuel must never be disposed of through the sewer system.
  5. Look for signs of potential sewer problems and take action before you have a back-up. Signs include:
    • Does your drain run slowly?
    • Does it gurgle?
    • Do you have sewer odors?
  6. Review some of your practices at home or your business.
    • Do you know where your sewer line is located? (from the house to the street) Have you planted trees or bushes over it? (remember even if you have a plastic (PVC) sewer line and you plant something over the line and you need to repair it sometime you may lose your plantings)
    • Have you had your sewer line cleaned recently?
  7. Do you use your garbage disposal for everything?
  8. If you have a food business or processing business.
    • Do you have a grease trap?
    • Do you clean it regularly?
    • Do you know where it is?
    • Do you scrape your dishes?
    • Do you have screens over the drains?

Backing Up Risk Reduction

Take care of your sewer and reduce the risk of it backing up. Follow these simple rules:
  1. Flush garbage disposal with plenty of water. When possible put food scrapes in the garbage or compost.
  2. Store grease in a container and then dispose of hardened grease in the trash.
  3. Put cat litter, diapers, baby wipes, feminine napkins, cigarettes, cotton balls, Q-tips and tissues in the trash and not in the toilet.
  4. Start a compost pile for coffee grounds grinds, egg shells and food waste except meat, dairy products and bones put these in the trash.
  5. Screen all drains. Use a lint trap on your laundry hose.
  6. Avoid planting trees and bushes over your sewer line.
  7. Periodically, have your sewer lined cleaned.
  8. Never put medicines or hazardous material down the drain.
The sanitary sewer in your home is "out of sight, out of mind" until it backs up and then it is a very unpleasant emergency. Blocked sinks, overflowing toilets, flooded basements are all bad news and all expensive problems. Spills and overflows from sewer backups can cause damage to the environment and pollute waters.