• What is a Sewer Line?

    A sewer line is an underground pipe that is part of your home’s plumbing. It conveys waste water from your home to the sewer system. If you own your home, you also own your sewer line from the end of your home’s internal plumbing to the connection with the City’s sewer

    • What should I do if my sewer backs up?

      If the sewer line at your home or business is plugged, your first course of action should be to call a plumber. Most blockages are found to be in the part which is the property owner’s responsibility to have cleaned or repaired if necessary.

      Follow these tips to prevent clogs in your sewer lines:

      • Never allow diapers or pieces of fabric to be flushed down the drain.
      • Dispose of cooking oils and grease in the garbage – not down the drain. This can be done by pouring them into a coffee can or similar container, allowing them to cool and solidify, and disposing of them in the trash.
      • Do not dispose of coffee grounds or other heavy solids down the drain.
      • If you have large trees growing near your sewer lateral, you may want to use a root treatment periodically to make sure your lateral is not becoming blocked. Root treatment can be purchased at most hardware and home improvement stores.
      • Be cautious when disposing of sanitary wipes. Many of these wipes sold at the consumer level state they are flushable; however, it has been found that many of these products cause back-ups in private sewer laterals and sanitary sewer mains.
      • A good way to test sanitary wipes is to attempt to tear them by hand. If they do not tear easily, they should not be flushed. This is extremely important for the maintenance of your lateral as well as the City’s sewer system.
      • Place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with solid waste, or start a compost pile for non meat food wastes.
      • Avoid the use of liquid plumbing products. These can damage your sewer line and are not usually effective. Use mechanical means to clear a clog such as snaking the line or using a plunger.
      • Replace faulty lines before they fail. Broken and leaking pipers allow waste water to reach ground water or area waterways, which adds to pollution.
      • Be aware that low flow fixtures, such as toilets, that use less than 2 gallons per flush can present operational problems in the lateral serving your home. This is especially true if the age of your home is greater than 25 years. Low flow fixtures are great for the environment in terms of conserving water; however, in some cases laterals will become blocked over time due to lack of proper flushing volume. To address this, it is good practice to double flush your toilet once per day which will cause your lateral to be flushed out and eliminate debris build-up.

      Another tip is to check with your insurance agent to see if any potential backups would be covered under your homeowners policy. If there is a backup it could be a costly mess especially if you are not covered.

      Call your local Cote Agency today with any questions about this topic.

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