Sewer Blockages

The following are some commonly asked questions about sewer blockages and the sanitary sewer system.

What is the "Sanitary Sewer System"?

The sanitary sewer, or wastewater system, is the collection of pipes, pumps, and manholes that collect and transport sewer from homes, businesses and industries to the City's wastewater treatment plant.  This system is separate from the storm water system that transports rainfall runoff from streets and parking lots.

Where do customers sewer pipes end, and the City's "sanitary sewer" system being?

The City's sewer system (mainlines and manholes) are typically located in the public right of ways, streets, or in public utility easements.  The "service connection" for each customer is the pipe that extends from the City main or manhole to the property line of the customer.  This "service connection" pipe is installed and maintained by the City at the customer's expense.  The customers "building connection" pipe is usually installed by the homebuilder and extends from the "service connection" at the property line to the building or home being served.  The diagram below illustrates these items.

What are the typical causes of sewer blockages?

The most common causes of sewer blockages are structural damages to pipes, grease accumulation, or roots that have penetrated into the sewer lines.  Heavy rainfall can also be a cause of sewer blockages.

Who is responsible when a sewer blockage occurs?

The City is responsible for maintaining the sewer system mainlines and manholes located in the public right of ways, streets, or in public utility easements.  If a sewer blockage occurs in these lines, the City will respond to correct.  Property owners and customers are responsible for maintaining an "open flow path" from the building sewer connection, through the sewer service connection, to the sewer mainline or manhole.  Further information can be found in the City's Sewer Use Ordinance.

For additional information click on the links below:

Questions & Answers about "Sewer Blockages"

Questions & Answers about "Fats, Oils, and Grease"

FOG "Don't Feed the Grease Goblin!"

Sewer Blockage Formation