SANITARY SEWER MAINTENANCE
The New Albany Public Service Department maintains more than 60 miles of sewer lines that connect to 3,600 individual customers. These sewer lines are located mainly in the street right-of-way or public easements and are generally connected to sanitary fixtures inside properties, including toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, and washing machines. Nearly all interior plumbing inside a property (excepting the sump pump) is used to transport waste water from the property to city sanitary sewer pipes and ultimately to the City of Columbus to be treated at their wastewater treatment plant.
Crews routinely inspect sewer lines by utilizing a remote “sewer cam” video camera and prioritize maintenance and replacement schedules based on years of collected data and analysis. As part of this maintenance, crews may conduct tests to identify cracks that can cause sewer leaks. Cleanings occur when grease, roots or other deposits cause clogs within sewer lines. Crews may also routinely power wash sewer main lines in known trouble areas even when there are no evident problems to clear pipes for proper flow and remove slight obstructions.
When sanitary sewer maintenance is necessary, the Public Service Department will notify residents of the work to be done in their neighborhood. When possible, all cleaning will be conducted on public property, but workers may be required to access back yard or side yard easements as some manholes are located in these easements (for more information about manhole maintenance, please visit the Sewer Manhole Maintenance page in the Public Service section of the website). Homeowners do not need to be home for crews to perform this work and crews will not need to enter homes.
RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR THOSE RECEIVING NOTICES OF SANITARY SEWER MAINTENANCE WORK
- Put all toilet lids down and secure them with plastic wrapped around the bowl the day(s) of the schedule work.
- Plug all basement floor drains. This can be accomplished by purchasing an actual floor drain plug at a local hardware store or stuffing rags into the drain with a weighted down board to hold the rags in place.
- Remove the washing machine drain pipe from the stand pipe and cover the stand pipe with a plastic bag secured to the pipe.
- Pour water in all sinks and drains if any foul odors occur after the performed maintenance.
PREVENTING BACK-UPS IN YOUR HOME
- NEVER pour grease down drains or into garbage disposals. The grease will turn into a hard solid that blocks lines and can result in a sewer back up. Let grease cool down and dispose of it in the trash.
- Putting food down a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink can be a convenient method of throwing away leftovers. However, many foods, such as certain vegetables and vegetable skins, have natural oils in them. These food particles can convert into grease in your pipes and sewer service line. Frequent use of a garbage disposal can contribute to blockages in service and main lines.
- Roots from trees can grow into sewer line joints and obstruct flow. Currently, city crews do not inspect private sewer laterals; such laterals are the responsibility of the homeowner. If the city ultimately determines that a customer’s service line is blocked by root growth, the resident must contact a licensed plumber to have the line cleaned from the house to the sewer drain. If there are several mature trees in your yard located near or around where your service line runs, you may want to periodically have the sanitary sewer service line checked and/or cleaned out by a plumber, especially if your toilets, sinks, etc. are experiencing frequent blockages or backups.
- BE ON THE LOOKOUT! If you see an overflowing manhole, detect a sewer odor or observe evidence of sewer on the ground or in a stream, please report this by calling the Public Service Department at 614.855.0076 (or the New Albany Police Department at 614.855.1234 after 5 PM on weekdays or anytime during weekends). With your help, we can keep the lines flowing!
DO YOU NOTICE A FOUL ODOR OR WATER IN YOUR BASEMENT?
- Stop running water, flushing toilets and taking showers in the home. If possible, turning off the water in the home is advised.
- Immediately call the Public Service Department at 614.855.0076 (or the New Albany Police Department at 614.855.1234 after 5 PM on weekdays or anytime during weekends). Even if you suspect the problem may be on your private property service line, it is best to call the Public Service Department first before you call a plumber. Crews will check main lines to identify and correct the problem or determine whether the homeowner needs to call a plumber.) This step could save you an unnecessary plumber’s bill!