Preventing Sewer Backups

  • Consider the installation of backup prevention devices, which may be installed by your qualified plumbing company. They can assist you in the best methods and products.
  • Do not plant trees and shrubs over the private building sewer. The roots of trees, particularly Silver Maple and Willow trees will seek out the joints of the sanitary sewer and eventually clog the pipe.
  • Do not put large amounts of vegetable waste, such as pea pods and tomato skins, through the garbage disposal at 1 time. Even though these materials will go through the garbage disposal, they may clog the private building/house sewer. This also applies to grease and paint, which will build up in the building/house sewer over a period of time eventually causing a blockage.
  • If your washing machine drains into a sink, make sure to use a lint trap in that sink. It is easier to clean out the lint traps than it is to clean out the building/house sewer.
  • If you smell sewer gas, check to see if all sewer traps are filled with water and check to see if the cap on the sewer clean out is on tight. If the gas smell persists, call your plumber and have your system checked.

Sewer backups are most commonly a private problem and the responsibility of the homeowner. There are many reasons for backups, which the city cannot control. For example, dumping inappropriate things such as grease or diapers into the system can create a blockage. Tree roots can grow into and obstruct the lines. Generally, the city is responsible only if it was negligent in maintaining the sewer lines. Sometimes, your homeowner's insurance will pay for sewer backups. Not all policies have this coverage, so check with your agent.

If you feel that the damage occurred as a direct result of the city's negligence, you can file an insurance claim form with the City of Muscatine.