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Your sewer service pipe carries wastewater from your home to the main sewer line located beneath the street or in the back lane. Problems with the service pipe may cause flooding if not dealt with properly. The City provides a basic service to help diagnose drainage problems with your sewer service. We can also give you all available information to help you decide on the corrective measures necessary.

Typical Problems

Plugged Internal Plumbing

Drainage problems such as plugged sinks, bathtubs, floor drains and toilets that flush poorly are considered internal problems. Most of these cases can be diagnosed over the telephone. 

The City does not provide further assistance for internal problems other than to recommend that you call a plumber. Several companies specializing in this type of work are listed in the Yellow Pages under Sewer Service.

Plugged or Partially Plugged Service

Oversized objects may plug your sewer service causing water to backup through the floor drain. Some of the most common objects include rags, paper towels, baby/bathroom wipes, hair, underwear, grease buildup and children's toys. 

A fee may be charged if the blockage is located on your private property.The same service is offered by private plumbers but please be aware that reimbursement of the plumber's fee will not be allowed, no matter where the blockage is located.


Tree roots may grow into the pipe through cracks or joints. Rodding equipment used by private plumbers and City crews may remove some roots but a significant quantity will remain. 

Root removal by this method has an effect similar to pruning a hedge and actually encourages further growth. In many cases, roots may be treated with a herbicide that both removes existing roots and also inhibits future growth for three to five years. 

Further information on this herbicide treatment may be obtained from the City. Severe root intrusion, such as a pipe full of roots, may require a repair or replacement of the sewer service. This requirement will be assessed by Utility Services staff.


Sags are caused by failure of the pipe bedding on the bottom of the trench. This type of failure causes a section of the pipe to drop below proper grade. 

Water remains trapped in the sag and solids suspended in the water tend to settle in the sag area. Eventually, the collection of debris in the sag will cause a restriction in the pipe and a blockage may result. 

Sags can only be fixed by removing the affected area of pipe and regrading the trench bottom.

Collapsed or Broken Pipe

Small cracks in the sewer pipe may be tolerated provided they are not wide enough to allow backfill material to fall into the pipe. 

Cracked pipes may function for several years before corrective measures are necessary. However, a collapsed or broken section of pipe will allow backfill material to enter and plug the service. 

Replacing the collapsed portion of the pipe is the only viable option in this situation.

If you are currently experiencing a sewer backup or require immediate assistance, please call 311.


For More Information

Services for Sewer Root Maintenance Program or Sewer Service Televising Inspection



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