Sewer Systems

The Public Works Department is responsible for the cleaning, general maintenance, and repair of the network of sanitary and storm sewer lines under the streets and sewer easements throughout the City.

The Operations-Maintenance Division maintains most of the visible parts of the system; manholes and storm sewer intakes. Sanitary sewer lift stations and the cleaning and maintenance of the parts you don’t see, the underground sewer lines, are handled by the Water Reclamation Division.

Ongoing Maintenance Program

Our ongoing maintenance program allows us to clean all sanitary sewer lines once every five to six years, more often if needed.

Aging Sanitary Sewer System Issues
An ongoing battle exists with the infiltration and inflow (I & I) problems associated with an aging sanitary sewer system. Cracks and breaks in old sewer lines can allow clean groundwater to infiltrate the system escalating flows to the point that the system can sometimes become overloaded.

Inflow is when clean groundwater, primarily from building foundation sump pumps, is illegally diverted into the sanitary sewer. I & I problems can add significantly to treatment costs at the Water Reclamation Facility.

Issues Caused By Tree Roots
There are nearly 28,000 trees within the City right of way. Some of these cause problems because the roots penetrate cracks and failed joints of old vitrified clay pipes inhibiting the flow of wastewater. We have ongoing programs to counteract this problem. More than 4500 feet of cracked and broken lines are rehabilitated every year by inserting cured-in-place liners.

This process essentially puts a new pipe within the old pipe, sealing it off from roots and groundwater infiltration. The best part is that it can all be done using “no-dig” technology – no mess, no digging up the street. We also use chemicals to kill roots. Herbicides are professionally applied to particularly troublesome areas.

TV Inspections

We also have the equipment and expertise to inspect for problems using closed circuit television technology. Sewer lines as small as six inches in diameter can be examined. This is especially useful in diagnosing trouble spots.

Report a Stormwater Issue

To find out how to report a stormwater issue or to see examples of problems, visit our Report a Stormwater Issue page.