How to Prevent Sewer System Backup

Sewer systems are used to carry liquid and solid wastes from household plumbing and appliances such as toilets, washing machines, utility sinks and basement floor drains.
Sewer system backups can be caused by a wide range of issues including storms, flooding, improper maintenance, breaks in the pipe and clogging of the sewer lines. According to Johnson Utilities L. L. C. , following a few helpful suggestions on how to keep your sewer lines clear and properly maintained will help to prevent sewer system backups that are expensive and difficult to repair.

Step 1

Avoid pouring cooking oil and other grease based products into your toilet or drains. Although cooking oil may be liquid when you pour it down your drain, it solidifies after cooling—potentially clogging the main sewer or sewer line. Over time, this may cause your sewer system to back up. Dispose of cooking oil in a heat-safe container.

Step 2

Do not flush paper and cloth products down the toilet. Examples of products that you should not flush include paper towels, cloth or disposable diapers, baby wipes, sanitary napkins and certain tampons. These products do not break down the way toilet paper does and can cause an accumulation of debris that clogs the main sewer or sewer line.

Step 3

Know where your sewer lines run through your yard, and avoid planting shrubs and trees nearby. Seeking moisture, the roots will invade sewer line cracks, continuing to grow until they completely break the sewer line, causing sewer system backup and damage.

Step 4

Use a root killer containing copper sulfate to kill the roots of shrubs and trees that have invaded your sewer lines. This can prevent the roots from causing sewer system backup.

Step 5

Avoid pouring dangerous and toxic liquids such as motor oil, epoxies, paint and pesticides down your drain. According to FEMA, these may cause damage and clogging in your sewer line.

About the Author

Sarai Jeremiah is a freelance writer and graphic designer living on the East Coast, where she is currently pursuing an education in both fields. She has been writing articles and content on a variety of topics since 2006 and has contributed articles to Web sites such as Spark People.