Sanitary sewer inflow has two causes: overloaded sewers, and clogs. Overloading is usually the result of storms, and you are unfortunately at their mercy. Clogs can be prevented, but can be incredibly costly if left unchecked.
Overloading usually occurs when water from storm drains or excess water runoff enters the sanitary sewer. Sanitary sewers use water from storm drains to dilute waste. Sanitary sewers can only handle so much, and when storm sewers become overloaded so do sanitary sewers. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to prevent sanitary sewer inflow, and lessen its effects.
If you hear of a flood warning in your area, or even heavy rain, storm sewers can become overwhelmed and cause sanitary sewer inflow. A simple step you can take is diverting all of your gutters and downspouts to the lawn, away from storm drains.
Clogs create a different kind of sewer inflow. Clogs occur in the lateral sewer pipe, which drains waste water away from your home and into the sanitary sewer. When this becomes clogged, the waste water can only go one way – back into your home.
Clogs usually occur as a result of age. Pipes erode naturally, or tree roots break into them. Unfortunately, your best option in this scenario is to call an excavator to dig up, remove, and replace the damaged pipe. You can prevent clogs by monitoring what you flush. Paper towels, make up removers, tampons, cotton swabs, and other similar items can create clogs in the lateral sewer pipe. Oil, grease or other fluids can also cause clogs. These materials don’t break down easily, and can cause waste water to drain slowly, and eventually cause a clog. You can also call 811 to locate your lateral sewer pipe. If you notice that trees, shrubs or other plants are growing on or near the pipe it might be prudent to have them removed before they become a problem. Once a clog occurs, the only solution is to dig up and replace the pipe.
Prevent Disaster Before it Happens
Sanitary sewer inflow as a result of storms is hard to prevent. All you can do is divert water away from the foundation of your home and hope for the best. But when it comes to clogs, prevention is key. Stop a clog before it has the chance to be a thousand dollar problem. Watch what you flush, and monitor the growth of nearby trees and shrubs.