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If you are experiencing a sanitary sewer backup emergency - contact Lake County Public Works immediately at

Sanitary Sewer Backup

The property owner is responsible for the entire length of the sanitary service lateral from the building to the main line sewer. It’s a good idea to take preventative actions to reduce the potential for problems. Sanitary sewer backups in a home or business may be caused by a number of factors:

1. A power outage can prevent a sewer ejector pump from working. To ensure that the sewer ejector pump continues to operate during a power outage, consider purchasing a backup power supply system which typically maintains power to the sewer ejector pump for an hour or two.

2. Private service laterals can become blocked with tree roots. Roots typically extend underground as far the tree branches extend from the tree trunk. If the service lateral is within this area, it is more likely to have tree roots. Avoid putting large pieces of food and grease in sinks, dishwashers and garbage disposals. Sink strainers are designed to capture pieces of food that should be thrown in the garbage. Grease can block the lateral. It is best to store grease in something like an empty soup can. Let the grease solidify before throwing it in the garbage. Construction near the service lateral can cause movement of nearby ground and weaken the lateral. If there is a suspected blockage in the service lateral, a plumber can investigate it. Some plumbers have the ability to televise the lateral.

3. Main lines - The main lines of the system are televised every few years to ensure they are in sound condition. Heavy rainfall (that's supposed to go in storm sewers and creeks) can enter the sanitary sewer from many sources and reduce the available capacity of the main.

If it is suspected that a main line is blocked, please contact Lake County Public Works to investigate the situation. Return to top.

A Higher Level of Protection for Your Property

You may want to consider a few options:

1. A backflow prevention device

2. Overhead sewers (sanitary sewer ejector pump with check valve)

3. A gate valve (manually operated valve)

None of these options guarantee the elimination of basement backups. For example, the backflow device can become plugged or stuck partially open. An overhead sewer ejector pump won't work if power isn't available. A gate valve requires someone to close it, and eventually all valves will fail. However, these options can significantly increase the level of protection from a basement backup.

If believe you may be interested in one of these options, there is a cost participation program that the District offers, you should review:

Cost Reimbursement Program for Overhead Sewer or Backflow Prevention Devices

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