Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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What do I do if my sewer backs up?

I've noticed a sewer odor in my home, what can I do?

What do I do about a sewer backup?

Where does the City's responsibility end and the property owners begin?

What causes water to gush from my toilet?


What do I do if my sewer backs up?

Call the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 515-386-4711 during regular business hours. Call the LEC at 515-386-2136 after hours and holidays. A maintenance crew will be notified of the problem and determine if the stoppage is in the city main or your service line. If the city main is found to be clear, it is the responsibility of the property owner to call a plumber or sewer/drain cleaning service to correct the problem. The property owner is responsible for maintaining adequate flow to and through the sewer lateral from the property structure into the city sewer main. If the blockage is in the city main, we will fix it promptly and keep you informed on what is being done.

IMPORTANT: Check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if you have coverage for backups. If you do not have coverage, consider adding it to your policy. In most cases the City's insurance will not cover your damages in the event of a backup.

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I've noticed a sewer odor in my home, what can I do?

Basement floor drains that have dried up will allow sewer gas to enter the home. These drains need to be checked and refilled with water. Pour a quart or two of water in these drains every week to keep them filled. Adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil or mineral oil to the water in the drain will slow down the evaporation of the water in the drain trap.

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What do I do about a sewer backup?

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, and damage to your home and/or electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and damage.

* Immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property
* Take before and after photos of the affected areas
* Itemize any property losses
* Wet-vacuum or remove spillage
* Mop the floors and wipe walls with soap and disinfectant
* Flush out and disinfect plumbing fixtures
* Steam clean or remove carpet and drapes
* Clean appliances and ductwork
* Repair or remove wallboard or wall covering

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Where does the City's responsibility end and the property owners begin?

The property owner's sewer extends from the interior plumbing of the building to where the pipe connects to the public sewer main, most frequently located in the center of the street or alley. The sewer main is the city's responsibility.

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What causes water to gush from my toilet?

This condition can be the result of preventative sewer maintenance activities. Sewer mains are cleaned from the inside of the pipe by using high-pressure water. Occasionally this can cause a surge in the service line

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