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Property Owner Responsibility

Each home or commercial building has a separate connection to the public sanitary sewer main called a sewer lateral. It is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair their own sewer lateral from the house up to the point of connection with the public sanitary sewer main. This includes both the portion on private property and the portion located beneath the sidewalk and street up to the point where the lateral connects to the public main. The drawing below illustrates the difference between a sewer lateral and a public sanitary sewer main.

Diagram showing a house's sanitary sewer connection to the public system, indicating maintenance responsibility.


  • Please be aware of where your sewer lateral is located
  • Check to see if clean out is overflowing
  • Check to see if tree roots are possibly causing blockage

Note: Human contact with sewage is a serious public health risk. Many waterborne diseases exist in household sewage. ! AVOID CONTACT!

Lateral Service / Typical House Problems
Signs of a sewer blockage

  • Slow draining fixtures.
  • Back up of multiple fixtures at home at the same time.
  • Using some fixtures impact others (i.e. flushing a toilet backs up sewer from the shower or while the washing machine drains, a nearby toilet overflows.)
  • Water is visible, flowing or overflowing on the exterior sewer vent.
  • A sewer vent or clean-out is often found on the exterior of a home, with a visible cap.
  • Common causes of blockages
  • Years of built-up, grease and grime.
  • Foreign objects flushed down the toilets.
  • Tree roots invading broken pipes.
  • Broken or dislocated pipes.
  • Age of pipe.
  • Flushing products labeled “flushables” that are not dispersible. (disposable wipes and diapers, sanitary napkins, paper towels, contraceptive products, kitty litter, etc.)
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