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  1. 1/1/2006 Protect Your Property From Sewer Backups
  2. On numerous occasions, District maintenance staff have responded to sewer backup reports received from distressed homeowners who have lost valuable property that was stored on a basement floor near a floor drain. If a sewer service pipe or sewer main becomes clogged, wastewater backs up in the pipe and may surface through basement floor drains. If not detected and corrected immediately the backup can spread and contact items which have been boxed and stored in a seemingly remote area of the basement.

    The majority of sewer backups occur in customer owned service lines and not the District's sewer main.

    One of the most common causes of service line backups are tree roots which have infiltrated the service line. Many customers do not realize the ability of tree roots to infiltrate and eventually clog sewer service pipes. Trees are frequently planted with no regard to the location of underground sewer pipes and are therefore planted directly over or adjacent to the sewer pipe. Roots from some fast growing trees can infiltrate the pipe joints in a matter of a few years. Once the hairlike roots enter the sewer pipe, they grow exceedingly fast and can completely clog the pipe in a matter of months.

    Sewer backups can also be caused by grease buildup and foreign objects flushed down toilets and drains (i.e. toys and diapers).

    On rare occasions District owned sewer mains will become clogged and cause backups. Blockages in the sewer mains may be caused by tree roots entering the mains through individual service line connections, grease buildup from commercial properties, structural deficiencies, and vandalism. To prevent sewer main backups from occurring the District inspects each main with television cameras every four years or more often if the pipe is located in a known trouble area. Any blockages observed during these inspections are immediately removed.

    In order to avoid the distress caused by a loss of irreplaceable personal property, District staff recommends that sewer service pipes be roto-rooted occasionally, cooking grease be disposed of in the trash rather than down sinks, and that personal property not be stored directly on the basement floor, if possible.

    If you are experiencing a sewer backup, please contact the District office immediately at (303) 979-2333 for assistance. There is no charge for the District to respond to these calls.