Avoiding Sewer Back-ups

A guide for Property Owners in the Town of East Greenbush

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the lateral sewer line from their property to the sewer main. The Town is responsible for maintaining the main sewer line only.

Sewer lines clogged or slow running build up debris in the pipes which becomes trapped and results in a back-up. When this occurs, wastewater from the home or business is blocked from flowing into the main and flows backwards – through the first available plumbing appliance outlet. A large deluge of rain or flood water may also cause back-ups when the main lines become overwhelmed with runoff and the situation is compounded by any sump pumps connected to the sanitary system.*

The Town Department of Public Works will respond and investigate all sewer back-ups. If there is a problem with the main line, the Town will make sure the problem is addressed and repaired as soon as possible. However, if the problem is within a lateral line, the property owner will be informed and advised to call a licensed plumber.

Any repairs that need to be made to a lateral sewer line need to be done by a licensed contractor that has proof of liability and workman’s compensation insurance. A Sewer Repair Permit is required for any repairs done to a lateral sewer line.

Methods to Prevent Sewer Back-ups

  • Don’t plant trees or large shrubs near sewer lines.
  • Slow drain lines should be cleared to increase drainage from the property into the main.
  • Don’t dispose of grease and fats down the drain, but in the trash.
  • Don’t dispose of diapers or other disposable hygiene products in your toilets, but in the trash.
  • Don’t dispose of bones and food scraps down your sink unless you have an appliance to grind them before your disposal.

*It is illegal to connect backyard drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to the sanitary sewer.

If you have such a connection please advise the Water & Sewer Department @ (Phone) 477-9367. The Department will evaluate the situation and make a recommendation on their removal.

A back-flow valve (preventor) should be installed into your sewer system. A properly installed valve can significantly reduce the likelihood of wastewater entering your property.

Yearly maintenance of your grinder pump is essential.