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Sewer Backups and Blockages

How can I prevent a sewer backup?

  • DO NOT pour grease of any kind down sinks, garbage disposals, or other drains. Grease builds up inside the pipe and eventually blocks the sewer. Grease is the major contributor of a sewer blockage.
  • DO NOT flush diapers, sanitary napkins, newspapers, soiled rags, or paper towels down the toilet.
  • DO NOT put used oil, paint, solvents, or other chemicals down sewer lines.
  • DO NOT plant trees with shallow, spreading root systems near your sewer lateral. Tree roots seek water sources and will penetrate any cracks in the sewers. The roots can create a dense mat and trap materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have a sewer backup?

Immediately stop using the sink, dishwasher, shower, toilet and washing machine. Call the Authority at 610-828-0979 and explain the situation to the person answering the telephone. If you are calling after hours, leave a detailed message including your name, address, the problem and a telephone number where you can be reached. Someone will return your telephone call within a short period of time. If you are a tenant, you should contact your landlord and inform him/her of the problem.

What will the Authority do if I have a sewer backup?

Authority personnel will check the sewer main to determine if there is a backup. If there is a backup in the Authority's sewer main, Authority personnel will remove the obstruction. If there is no backup in the Authority's sewer main, Authority personnel will inform you and you should then contact a registered or licensed plumber to remove the obstruction from your sewer lateral or your inside plumbing.

What if the obstruction is caused by tree roots?

If it is determined that the blockage in the Authority's sewer main was caused by tree roots, Authority personnel will remove tree roots from the sewer main only. The property owner is responsible for the removal of tree roots in the sewer lateral.

Is there a charge if I call the Authority about a sewer backup?

There is no charge for the Authority to check if there is a blockage in the Authority's sewer main. The Authority will not remove any obstructions from your sewer lateral or inside plumbing. This is the property owner's responsibility.

What steps can a property owner take as a safeguard in the event of a sewer backup?

The Authority strongly recommends to all property owners that have sewage service to their basements to install a check valve into the sewer line. A check valve will significantly reduce the chance of any property damage occurring in the event of a sewer backup.