Skip to main content

Avoid future backups(FAQ's)

Blockages can occur for numerous reasons. Some of the most common causes are tree roots, grease and toys or objects inserted by children who may use drains to dispose of pencils, Barbie dolls, etc. To avoid home sewer problems, you may want to contact a local plumber to clear these roots from your lateral and prevent your drains from backing up. The District does not endorse or recommend any particular plumbing service – we suggest that you consult the Better Business Bureau to identify a reliable plumber. In the event that you hire a plumbing service, we request that you call us and allow our crew to “catch” any root mass that is released into the sewer main during the plumber’s maintenance activities.  When you are searching for a quality company, it is recommended that you consider asking the following questions:

  • What is the cost to perform a given service?
  • What is the company's guarantee for their work?
  • How long does the guarantee last?

Most homeowners have experienced a temporary blockage or sluggish drains in their plumbing.  Minor blockages often can be cleared with a plunger.  
Cooking grease, hair, food particles, toilet paper and roots often cause sluggish drains or line blockages.  If they happen near the drain opening or toilet bowl, a plunger may be effective in clearing them.  However, if the problem is some distance into a drain line, it may require a plumber to locate and resolve. 

Eliminate Water 
May contain: indoors

If you have a blocked or stubborn drain, the first thing you want to do is reduce or eliminate the water you put in the lines to minimize the amount of damage you may do.  Obviously, if you keep flushing a slow-moving toilet, it will overflow the bowl, damaging your floor.  

Washing machines can create one of the biggest problems when your drains are running slowly.  Washers use 15 to 20 gallons a load.  This water could back up into toilets or showers, possibly causing overflow damage.  It is relatively easy to find out if the blockage is in the house drains or in the sewer lines.

Check Your Cleanout 

Many homes have a cleanout and it is usually located near the foundation of the house. 

First, check the cleanout to see if it has water in it.  If it contains no water, then you know the blockage is somewhere in the house plumbing.  If there is water standing in the cleanout, the blockage is most likely in the line from the house to the main sewer line.  Under these circumstances you should discontinue using your facilities and contact the District office, at 434-7422.

Dispose of grease and fats with your trash, not down the drain. Even if you run it through a garbage disposal, grease in drains can collect and harden into a plug.

Never connect sump pumps, French drains or other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It's illegal and the debris and silt will clog your line. Call a plumber to undo illegal connections.

  • Do not dispose of your household grease in the sinks or toilets
  • Do not dispose of diapers or other disposable hygiene products in your toilets
  • Do not dispose of bones and food scraps if you do not have an appliance to grind them before disposal
  • Inspect and have your rooftop vents cleaned out by a professional
  • Place screening over your rooftop vents if you encounter a problem with rodents entering your home through your toilets

Tree roots, a common cause of sewer problems, will grow deeper and farther into the ground to find a water and nutrient source. Sewer pipes installed prior to the 1980s were typical of the clay pipe style, which can allow roots to access and disrupt the wastewater flow in your sewer. A root cutter can be utilized to correct this problem.

Once again, we recommend contracting with a sewer cleaner or plumber to correct this problem, as most homeowners will generally not be familiar with or have the equipment needed to perform the work. For the do-it-yourselfer who would prefer trying to correct the problem on his/her own, this type of equipment may be rented from a local vendor.

Call the District at the first sign of a problem – before the sewer backs up – at 434-7422. If your drains are running slowly, for example, call us. We'll come and check the District’s sewer main.