Public Works

Sewer and Storm Drain Unit
24-Hour Hotline (612) 673-5625
or call 311 for non-urgent issues

Home Sewer Maintenance

What is the property owner's responsibility?

The property owner is responsible for the sanitary service which connects your home or building to the public sanitary sewer system. The sanitary service (also called a lateral) is the pipe which extends from inside the building to the sanitary sewer main in the street. The connection to the main is a part of the service lateral and is also the property owner's responsibility.

As a homeowner, what is my role regarding sewage overflow?

You are responsible for the maintenance and repair of your lateral. A cracked, deteriorated or root filled lateral can allow groundwater to seep into your sanitary service, as well as the sanitary sewer system, which contributes to the problem. A lateral in poor condition or restrictions in your lateral can also cause blockages, stoppages of the flow of sewage from your property to the public sanitary sewer main. This can result in backups into your basement, causing property damage and potential health concerns.

You are also required to correct any improper connections, such as roof drains, downspouts, driveway drains, foundation or footing drains or sump pumps connected directly to the sanitary sewer system. The stormwater collected from these devices must be disconnected from the sanitary sewer and managed on your property or redirected to the storm drain system. Read more about the Combined Sewer Overflow program.

Is my service affected by what I put down the drain?

Yes! Do not dispose of Fats, Oil & Grease (known as FOG) down any sink drain or the toilet inside your home.


Dry wipe or scrape pans, pots and plates prior to washing them. Put this food material into your trash. Limiting what you put down your drain will help keep your sanitary service flowing freely and working properly. Materials such as sanitary napkins, bandages, coffee grounds, eggshells, kitty litter, paper towels, diapers or any items that will not totally dissolve should be disposed of in your trash. Dispose of hazardous materials such as motor oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze, paint, turpentine and caustic household cleaners at proper hazardous waste collection sites. Be careful what you put down your drain!

What kinds of problems do Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) cause?

As Fat, Oils, and Grease travels through the service lateral and enters the sewer system the FOG will solidify as it cools and cause blockages that can cause the sewer to back-up into your building or other buildings on the same line. FOG can also lead to sewer backups and may result in property damage.

Last updated Mar 18, 2013