Sewer Backups

The most common problem with the collection process is a clogged pipe which leads to sewer backing up in homes.

Maintenance Tips

Below are some helpful suggestions on how to keep your sewer lines clear and properly maintained.

  1. As a homeowner make sure you know where your sewer lateral runs through your yard, and avoid planting shrubs and trees nearby. Seeking moisture, the roots will invade sewer line cracks, continuing to grow until they completely break the sewer line, causing a sewer system backup.
  2. If you suspect issues in your home (slow drainage) investigate the cause. Please call Public Works at 507-934-0670 before you hire a professional sewer cleaning service.
  3. Avoid pouring dangerous and toxic liquids such as motor oil, epoxies, paint and pesticides down your drain. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency, these may cause damage and clogging in your sewer lines, which would be your responsibility to repair.

What You Can’t Flush

Here are some items you should not put down your drains or toilet.

  • Baby wipes (all types) Paper towels (all types)
  • Cat litter (all types)
  • Feminine hygiene products (panty liners/tampons) 
  • Kleenex/Tissue (all types)
  • Q-tips/Ear Swabs (all types)

Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)

Sewer Blockage Formations Diagram -showing pipe build upFats, oil and grease, also known as FOG, causes sewer blockages, leading to spills and overflows. FOG substances include:

  • Animal Fats from Meat
  • Butter
  • Food Scraps
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Oil
  • Sauces
  • Shortening
  • Vegetable Fats

As FOG cool, it congeals and hardens, making it stick to the inner lining of drainage pipes which restricts the wastewater flow, eventually causing a blockage.

Inflow & Infiltration

This is water that does not need to be treated at the wastewater treatment facility and can inundate the facility with excess flow sometimes causing bypass into the environment. Inflow sources: roof drain connection, uncapped cleanout or faulty manhole cover or frame.  Infiltration sources: connected foundation drain, broken house lateral, faulty lateral connection, root intrusion into lateral, deteriorated manhole or cracked or broken pipes.

Inflow and Infiltration Diagram