Sewer Blockage Information

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Causes of Residential Sewer Blockages

The buildup of grease is the main cause of sewer backups and overflows. Most grease enters the sewer system through the kitchen sink. Grease sticks to the insides of the sewer lines and decreases the carrying capacity of the sewers. Low concentrations of grease are also problems over time.

AWWU's Operations & Maintenance Line Crews use a specially designed water jet truck to dislodge grease and other debris from sewer lines. Debris then floats to a manhole where it is trapped and removed by an AWWU Vactor truck.

Help prevent the occurrence of improper objects into sewer mains. The majority of backups are caused by debris, regardless of how many times the sewer lines are cleaned.

Help Prevent Sanitary Sewer Line Blockages

Do:

  • Put food waste from plates and pans into the garbage instead of putting food waste into a garbage disposal.
  • Scrape and/or dry wipe grease from dishes and pans into the garbage before placing them in the sink or
  • dishwasher.
  • Pour cooking fat/grease into a small container to solidify or absorb with kitty litter before placing it into the garbage. Empty concentrated juice containers work well.
  • Unclog drains naturally. Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Wait a few minutes and follow this with boiling water. Pour boiling water down the drains weekly to prevent clogs.

Do Not:

  • Do not pour grease of any kind down sinks, garbage disposals, or other drains. Grease is the major contributor of sewer blockages.
  • Do not flush diapers, flushable wipes, sanitary napkins, newspapers, soiled rags, or paper towels down toilets.
  • Do not put used oil, oil-based paints, solvents or other chemicals down sewer lines, storm drains or into drainage ditches.

Helpful Tips

  • Recycle used oil and antifreeze. Service stations and recycling centers will take used oil and old antifreeze.
  • Call Municipal Solid Waste Services, Hazardous Waste Disposal, (907) 343-6262, for guidance and proper disposal information.
  • Always read a product's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for proper disposal guidance.
  • Call AWWU's Pretreatment Program for assistance, (907) 751-2253.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my home or building connected to AWWU's sanitary sewer system?

Call AWWU Customer Service Monday-Friday, 8 am - 5 pm at (907) 564-2700.

Who do I call if my sewer backs up?

Call AWWU Customer Service Monday-Friday, 8 am - 5 pm at (907) 564-2700. After normal business hours call (907) 564-2700.

Who pays for the damage, cleanup and repairs?

  • The building owner or insurance company provided you have a sewer backup policy.
  • AWWU has a policy to assist you with the cleanup if the blockage occurs in the main line. If the blockage is in the service line, on private property, it's the homeowner's responsibility.
  • AWWU does not pay for repairs or damages. If blockages are caused by improper discharges into the system, AWWU can recover costs for damages from the responsible party.