Home sewer maintenance

Property owners are responsible for some sanitary sewer pipe maintenance.

The property owner's responsibility

The property owner is responsible for the sanitary service lateral connecting your property to the public sanitary sewer system. The sanitary lateral is the pipe which extends from inside your property to the sanitary sewer in the street. The connection at the sewer pipe is a part of your service lateral and is also the property owner's responsibility.

The homeowner's role regarding sewage overflow

You are responsible for the maintenance (and repair, if needed) of your sanitary lateral.

A cracked, deteriorated or root-filled lateral can allow groundwater to seep into the sanitary lateral and the sanitary sewer system. This excess groundwater in the sanitary system creates additional problems. If restrictions exist in your lateral, or if the lateral is in poor condition, blockages between your property and the sanitary sewer can occur. These blockages can result in backups into your basement, causing property damage and potential health concerns.

You're required to correct any improper connections, such as roof drains, driveway or foundation drains, downspouts or sump pumps connected directly to the sanitary sewer. This stormwater must be disconnected from the sanitary sewer, and must be managed on your property or redirected to the storm drain system.

Read more about the Combined Sewer Overflow Program 

Be careful what you put down your drain

Yes! Do not dispose of Fats, Oil & Grease (FOG) down any sink drain or the toilet inside your home.

Scrape and wipe plates, pots & pans before washing them, placing excess food in the trash. Limiting what goes down your drain will help keep your sanitary lateral working properly. Sanitary napkins, bandages, coffee grounds, eggshells, kitty litter, diapers or any items that will not totally dissolve should be placed in your trash. Hazardous materials such as motor oil, anti-freeze, paint, turpentine and household cleaners should be properly disposed of at hazardous waste collection sites. Be careful what you put down your drain!

The kinds of problems Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) cause

If FOG enters your service lateral and then the sewer system, it will solidify as it cools. This material can cause the sanitary sewer pipe on your street to back-up into your property, as well as other buildings on the same line, leading to possible property damage.

Contact us

Public Works

Surface Water and Sewers


24-Hour Hotline 612-673-5625

Stand-by employee 612-490-5568 (outside business hours)

Call 311 for non-urgent issues


7 a.m. to 3:30 pm

Call the sewer operations stand-by employee outside normal business hours.