The Water Distribution/Wastewater Collection Maintenance Division maintains approximately 188.12 miles of water, 149.58 miles of sewer lines and 8 sewer pump stations. The division is responsible for water/sewer line construction, maintenance and repair and installation of connections to city water. Staff is also responsible for testing, repairing, installing and replacing water meters.
Property Owner's Responsibility
The City of Newton is responsible for maintaining unobstructed wastewater flow in the sanitary sewer system. The line that connects a house or building to the City sewer system is called a service lateral. If a blockage occurs causing a sewer backup, the City encourages residents to call the City so a crew can verify which part of the line is obstructed.
A City crew will check the main line and clear the line if necessary. If the main line is clear, the property owner will be notified of the need to call a plumber to clear the service lateral. Occasionally there are blockages in service laterals that extend into the utility right-of-way. Should this occur the City will maintain the line to the clean out if requested. However, the property owner is ultimately responsible for the entire length of the service lateral.
Why Do Sewer Lines Block?
Many things can become lodged in a sewer line causing a back-up; e.g. sticks, rocks, bricks, pieces of broken pipe, string, gas, grease, paper towels, newspapers, sanitary napkins, plastics, etc… Many blockages occur as a result of tree roots growing into sewer pipes. Roots collect grease and animal fat poured down drains. Over time, this collection of debris can cause an obstruction. You can help prevent sewer backups in your home and protect the environment if you adhere the following advice:
Do not use the toilet as a garbage can. Do not flush rags, sanitary napkins, plastic items, cigarette butts, etc., which may clog your sewer line. The minimum inside diameter of the pipe carrying wastewater from a building to the sewer main is 4 inches.
Use the garbage disposal with enough water to flush debris all the way to the sewer main. Otherwise, grease and detergent may harden and clog your line. For more grease disposal tips click here.
Know the location of the clean-out on your property edge so City employees can readily ensure that the City's portion of the system is free of debris.
Should you have any questions regarding the treatment of wastewater in your community or need to report a sewer problem, please feel free to call the City of Newton Public Works and Utilities Department at (828) 695-4310.