Protecting Our Sewer System

Public Utilities customers can ensure efficient operation of the sewer system and prevent costly sewer overflows and wastewater treatment process upsets by closely monitoring their own wastewater discharges. The public sewer should not be regarded as a garbage can. Trash (including "disposable" or "flushable" wipes), feminine products, cooking fats/oils/greases and household chemicals should not be disposed in sinks, drains, or toilets, and should be kept out of the public sewer system entirely. Waste food should be disposed in the garbage can, not the garbage disposal.

Blockages of the customer's or Public Utilities' pipes cause sewage spills, unsanitary conditions and expensive repairs for the customer and the County. Higher operating and maintenance costs for the utility system lead to higher utility rates for all of our customers. Sewer customers are responsible for maintenance of piping (and grinder pumps, if applicable) up to the designated sewer cleanout located at or near the property line. As the smallest diameter pipes on the system, these are the most likely to become blocked by grease or trash. So remember, the pipes you are protecting may be your own!

Commercial & Industrial Customers

Commercial & industrial sewer users are regulated under the County's Sewer Use Ordinance (PDF). The ordinance provides for civil and criminal penalties for illegal discharges to the County's sewer system.

  • Commercial kitchens should not dump fat, grease or oil down the drain, rather have a protein recycler dispose of them properly. Kitchen managers should check their grease traps daily, and have them cleaned as frequently as necessary to prevent unsanitary conditions.
  • Floor strippers, waxes and other commercial cleaning products should never be disposed down sewer drains. Floor drains should be blocked or plugged during stripping operations to ensure stripper does not reach the sewer.
  • Commercial operations should keep appropriate spill kits on hand, including drain blocks, mobile dikes, booms or berms, and absorbent material. Employees should be trained in spill cleanup hazards and procedures. Waste generated from spill cleanup operations should be disposed in accordance with state and federal regulations.
  • Bulk chemicals should be stored on containment pallets or inside diked areas to contain accidental spills.
  • Public restrooms should be provided with appropriate receptacles for sanitary napkins, paper towels and other garbage.
  • Manufacturing and industrial operations should carefully monitor and maintain their sewage pre-treatment systems.

Watch a YouTube Video of Commercial Kitchen Grease Blockage

Residential Customers

  • Don't put diapers, feminine products, or sanitary napkins in the toilet. Even wipes that are labeled "flushable" or "safe for septic systems" should not be flushed. Read more about flushable wipes in the sewer system.
  • Don't dispose of grease, oil or fat down the drain. Wipe pans clean prior to washing.
  • Don't dispose of kitchen waste in the garbage disposal. Waste food carries fat, oil & grease, as well as solids into the sewer system.
  • Don't dispose of paint, household chemicals, automotive fluids or lawn & garden supplies down the drain. Consult the label for proper disposal. Many of these products are accepted for recycling at the County's Waste Transfer Stations.
  • Don't plant trees or large shrubbery near sewer lines. Root intrusion into sewer lines causes blockages, backups and costly repairs.
  • Don't connect gutters, storm drains or sump pumps to sewer lines. Connecting storm sewer outfalls to the public sewer system is a violation of County Code.
  • Do keep sewer cleanouts accessible and in good condition. This will aid in the County's location and removal of sewer obstructions.