Sewer System Problems that can Effect Your Home

sewer system problems

Lately we have been posting about security and getting your homes ready for winter.  One thing we have not discussed in quite a while is the problem of sewers backing up if the infrastructure system collapses.  Now this is normally only a problem for people who are attached to sewer systems not septic systems.  If your house is lower than the surrounding area, large pumps may be required to for your system to function correctly.  These pumps normally rely on electricity. These pumps can be a considerable distance from your home, as much as a mile or so.  Unless you do some inquiries, you may never know they are there.

Now if these pumps fail and people continue to flush their toilets, the sewage will flow to the lower areas.  If you live in one of these areas, you can have sewage back up into your home.  I am hooked up to a sewer system and live in a very hilly area.  Because I have not been able to find out as much information as I would like, I have acted on the assumption that the sewer will backup to my house.  As a result, I have taken measures to prevent this from happening.  See “More on Sewer System Problems”, this is a previous article that I wrote on this subject and tells you how to protect your home in detail. More on Sewer System Problems

Another thing to take into consideration is storm drains.  In the Sacramento valley areas which I am familiar with, there are some areas in which the storm drains are dependent on pumps.  So no power, the storm water backs up.

What this comes down to is you need to learn how the failure of government run sewer and storm systems would hurt you.  This also applies to people who live in high-rise apartments.  Are you on the top or the bottom? Remember it always flows downhill.


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4 Responses to Sewer System Problems that can Effect Your Home

  1. Marty says:

    This happened to me last year. A plugged line downstream from me backed up flooding my bathroom makes a crappy mess.

  2. Dan says:

    If I suspected that my home was subject to backing up due to it’s low elevation, I would locate the exterior building clean out, ensure that it could be accessed and keep a inflatable plumbing test ball on hand and a manual tire pump. In the event of a system failure, access the clean out, insert the deflated ball on the city side, and pump up. this would prevent sewage from backing up into my house. This does not allow the home owner to use drain system, but would prevent the crappy mess.

  3. admin says:

    Good comment, this is very similar to what I have done at my home.
    Thanks Howard

  4. ken says:

    Good point about things going downhill! I’m going to find the cleanout and purchase one of those balls.
    I have been concerned about emergency sanitation for some time. I recently became aware that our local cert team has the military “wag bag” system. This is a large plastic bag filled with a gelling powder that will fit into a bucket, camping toilet or even a regular flush toilet (without the water). A smaller plastic zip lock bag is to contain the used bag. The weakness I found is the toilet paper is the standard gi ration type and the sanitary wipe is also very small and probably not very effective. The good part is these are now available as military surplus for a fraction of the normal cost. Commercial ones cost as much as $3 for each bag. I was able to purchase surplus ones in quantity for under $1 per bag. They are compact as 50 bags will fit in a box 1 ft. square and 8″deep.

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