Maplewood News

Posted on: February 1, 2017

Be kind to our pipes

Just because it says flushable, doesn't mean you should flush it.

The month of February brings a few things to mind: valentines, heart-shaped chocolates, a tantalizingly close view of spring and... sanitary sewer backup prevention.  While you might not think sewer backup prevention fits into February’s romantic theme, we do, because we love our sewer system and the role it plays in keeping our City safe and healthy.

“Residents really do play a key role in preventing sewer backups,” said Scott Schultz, Maplewood’s sanitary sewer superintendent.Schultz and his team urge residents to dispose of the following items properly, rather than dumping them down the drain or flushing them down the toilet:

  • Diapers
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Wipes (any kind)
  • Rags or shop towels
  • Garage waste products like oil, grease, gasoline, and antifreeze
  • Household waste like ashes, grease, corrosives, glass, metals, paints, poisons, and solvents
  • Yard waste like sand, soil, and mudwipe in hand

Inflow and infiltration I & I is also a potential cause of sewer backups. I & I refers to clear water getting into the sanitary sewer system. This might occur through cracks or leaks in sewer pipes and manholes or from sump pumps incorrectly connected to the sanitary sewer system. Particularly during large rain events, I & I can cause the sanitary sewer system to overflow resulting in sewer backups.

“Because of the potential for I & I to create system issues, we have an ordinance that prohibits property owners from disposing of clear water into the sanitary sewer system, ”Schultz said. “This includes water from any roof, surface or ground sump pump, or foundation drain.

”Sanitary sewer problems should be reported to the City ofMaplewood’s Public Works Department.“

The City will work with you to identify the cause of the problem,” Schultz explained. “If there is a blockage in one of the City’s main sewer lines, the City will attempt to clear the blockage.

”The sewer line from your home, business or other property to the City sewer main is your responsibility. That means that you, as the property owner, are responsible for clearing any blockages. Property owners must schedule service and pay the cost of clearing any blockage located in the individual sewer line.

“It is important that your plumber notify the City prior to service cleaning so the main lines can be monitored to ensure roots or other debris that may be pushed out of your service do not backup the main,” Schultz added.

If you have questions regarding the City’s sanitary sewer maintenance program, sewer backup response or a specific incident, contact the Public Works Department at(651) 249-2400 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Outside of regular business hours, sewer backup calls can be reported to the Police Department’s non-emergency number at (651) 767-0640.

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