Guidelines to Prevent Sewer Backups

To prevent Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), observe the following guidelines:

FATS, OILS, AND GREASE (FOG)

FOG can solidify in sewer pipes and create blockages. To avoid this, please
consider the following:
 
  • Wipe food and grease off plates and pans into a covered container and
    place in the trash.

  • Do not pour waste oil or cooking residue directly into your drain.

  • Avoid using the garbage disposal to dispose of food waste.
   
TREE ROOTS

Tree roots intrude into sewer pipes through cracked or separated joints and, over time, form root balls, which can cause pipes to clog or rupture. To avoid this, please consider the following:




    • Do not plant trees or shrubs near your sewer lateral.

    • When replacing sewer laterals, consider installing Schedule 40 ABS and PVC pipes, which have better resistance to root intrusion.

    • Use commercially available products to remove and prevent re-growth of roots. Avoid products containing copper sulfate and sodium hydroxide, which are not as effective and can harm rivers and the ocean.

    WIPES – "TOSS IT, DON'T FLUSH IT"

    Single-use wipes may be labeled as “flushable,” but that does not mean they disappear when they are flushed down the toilet.  If flushed, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, personal hygiene wipes and similar items can block toilets and pipes.  These items also accumulate within sewer pumps causing equipment failures and sewer overflows.  This is such a widespread problem that water organizations from around the world, including the Sanitation Districts, are calling for changes in the manufacturing of wipes and re-labeling of all single-use wipes as “non-flushable” until safer standards are developed.

    Click
    here to learn more.  Protect your house and the sewer system by disposing of the following items in a trash can, regardless of whether the label says they are “flushable.”

    • Disinfecting wipes
    • Baby wipes
    • Towelettes
    • Feminine products
    • Paper towels
    • Diapers
    • Dental floss
    • Mop refills
    • Kitty litter
    • Disposable toilet bowel wands 

          

    BACKWATER VALVES

    A backwater valve is a device installed on your sewer pipes that allows sewage to flow out to the public sewer and prevents sewage from backing up into your property.  To help determine if your home is required to have a backwater valve installed, click here.