Sewer Overflows

If you have a sewer back up or overflow, call us at (254) 299-CITY (2489) to report it. A crew will come to check for blockages in the city’s sewer line. If the blockage occurs in the city's sewer lines, the city will correct the problem. If the blockage occurs on your property, you should contact a licensed plumber to correct the problem.

Plumbing back ups responsibility diagram

What Causes Sewer Overflows?

Sanitary sewer systems handle three things by design: water, human body waste and toilet paper. Other items like food scraps, diapers, condoms and hygiene products can cause overflows.

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) in the sewer system can cause back-ups and overflows. Fats, oils and grease are lighter than water. They tend to accumulate at the top and sides of sewer pipes and can build up until a blockage occurs. They also tend to solidify as they cool inside pipes. If the sewer backs up or overflows, property and environmental damage can occur. Learn more about FOG.

Excessive rain into the sewer system also causes back-ups and overflows from manholes. There are separate systems for carrying stormwater and sewerage.

What Can You Do to Prevent Overflows?

Restaurants prevent grease from entering the sewer system with grease traps and interceptors.

Tips for residents:

  • Collect grease in a container and take it to one of our five Used Cooking Oil Recycling Drop-Off Stations.. If you aren't able to bring it to a recycling station, you can also dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Place food scraps in garbage bags or cans with other trash or start a compost pile.
  • Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of solid waste. Disposable diapers, condoms, and personal hygiene products cannot be flushed.

These suggestions can save you money too! Most sewer back-ups are the property owner's responsibility. Prevent them before they happen with these tips!

How Does Rain Get Into the Sewer System?

Rainwater can get into the sewer system in many ways:

  • cracks in the sewer main
  • cracks or breaks in private citizens’ plumbing
  • broken joints in pipe
  • open clean-outs
  • leaky manhole covers

Diagram of how rain water affects your sewer system

What Can You Do?

  • Ensure clean-outs on your property are closed
  • Report open or damaged manholes
  • Repair broken / cracked sewer lines on your property
  • Report any sewer overflows immediately

To report a sewer back-up or overflow, please call Water Utility Services at (254) 299-CITY (2489).