Sewer laterals are the pipes that connect every home and business to the public sanitary sewer system. Wastewater from toilets, sinks and appliances go down the drain, and run through the lateral and into the City's sewer line. These laterals are the property owner's responsibility to manage repairs and maintenance.
What Are They?
Sewer laterals are the pipes that connect every home and business to the public sanitary sewer system. Wastewater from toilets, sinks and appliances go down the drain and run through the lateral, and into the City's sewer main.
Why are these important?
It's not uncommon for property owner's to be unfamiliar with sewer laterals and who are responsible for them when problems arise. When a sewer lateral breaks or is blocked, the owner is responsible and required to manage the repairs and maintenance. In fact, The City of Springfield's Environmental Services Department highly recommends that all homebuyers schedule a sewer lateral inspection to identify any issues before any new home purchases.
Schedule an Inspection
This is not a DIY project.
A licensed plumbing professional with the proper equipment should be contacted to conduct the sewer lateral inspection. It is always best practice to contact several experts and request estimates. A typical lateral inspection will cost around $200, but could save thousands. Lateral inspections are conducted by inserting a cabled video camera through the home's plumbing network to the sanitary sewer line.
The inspection will identify the following:
Physical pipe condition
Visible defects (cracks, weak joints and breaks)
Clogging and obstructions
Tree and root interference
Estimates should be collected from licensed plumbers for any sewer lateral or plumbing repairs.
The Life of a Pipe
Help them live a little longer
When you think about it, a lot of undesirable things are sent down our drains. Ideally, they flow out to the sewer main, but on occasion they have a tendency to linger or overflow because of a blockage or break in the pipe. These unpleasant and costly experiences can be minimized and possibly avoided by making a few small adjustments in order to prevent huge problems.
Follow these simple rules to add longevity to your pipes:
Do Not pour fats, oils or grease down drains. Instead, collect them in a container, cap and dispose in the trash.
Do Not flush feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels or 'flushable wipes'.
Avoid planting trees and large bushes near underground sewer lines.
Causes & What to do next?
The majority of sewer backups are caused by blockages within the homeowner's piping, either inside the home or in the lateral. In fact, when a backup occurs, you need to determine if there is a blockage within the entire house or if it is just a particular pipe.
If the problem persists, the City can dispatch a crew to flush the sewer mains to determine if it is blocked. The crew will check with the homeowner to see if their cleaning resolved the backup. If it doesn't, the homeowner will be responsible to hire a plumber to locate and fix the problem.
The Sewer Department should be contacted immediately if a damaged sewer main is found by a plumber. A City employee will come out to inspect the broken connection and will make any necessary arrangements for repair.
All plumbers who work on or near the sewer main will need to get a plumbing permit. Call 864.1921 or visit the Busch Municipal Building.