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Water and Sewer Lines

The below diagrams depict how our water and sewer systems are a collective responsibiity.

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Sewer Main Cleaning

The City of Farmington’s Department of Public Works is responsible for cleaning and maintaining sanitary sewer lines that connect to residential sewer lines.

The process of cleaning a sanitary sewer is standard operation that aims to remove debris and potential blockages from a gravity operated sanitary sewer system. This practice utilizes high velocity water that is sprayed against the internal pipe walls of the City's sanitary sewer system, clearing accumulated grease, debris and sediments that build up over time.  This preventative maintenance helps eliminate blockages and sewer backups within the City’s sanitary sewer mains, but not the residential connection.
 
The Public Works crews use a method called “hydraulic jetting” to clean sanitary sewers. The activity consists of running a hose with a jet nozzle attached through the sanitary sewer. Entry to the sanitary sewer is made via a manhole structure. These manhole structures are evident in yards and streets by the cast iron lids visible at the ground surface. Once the jet nozzle and hose are fed into the sewer pressurized water is applied. Water exiting the jet nozzle at high velocity forces the jet nozzle/hose assembly down the sewer pipe, cleaning the sewer as it goes. Once the jet nozzle/hose assembly reaches the next manhole structure (300 to 400 feet distance) the hose is reeled back mechanically cleaning the sewer pipe a second time.

Residents can expect loud noises, rumbling, or running water sounds when crews are cleaning sewer lines that have access points near the building. The jet may also cause a vacuum effect in plumbing fixtures, decreasing water levels, when crews are performing a sewer cleaning. Other less like events that may be caused by sewer cleaning include bubbling or burping in plumbing fixtures due to gas being released, or sewer odor in your home. These events can be mitigated by ensuring your plumbing vent is maintained and installed properly. The plumbing vent allows air in drain lines to be displaced so that water will flow from plumbing fixtures to the house, it provides an air vent for the sanitary sewer line to maintain a fresh smell and has traps that prevent sewer odor or dangerous gases from flowing up the sewer line into the house.

The City does a full cleaning of all municipal-owned sanitary sewer lines once every five years. Cleaning the sewer lines helps to extend the life of the pipe and allows crews to investigate into any segments that may need to be replaced. There are 50 miles of sanitary sewer pipe in the City of Farmington that the Water and Sewer Department is responsible for cleaning and maintaining.

Sewer Jurisdiction

The City of Farmington holds ownership over sanitary and storm sewers within public rights-of-way. The resident holds ownership and responsibility over sewer lines from their property extending to and including the connection to the City sewer main even if on the other side of the road. The resident will be responsible for maintenance and repairs for their section of the sanitary and storm sewer. See above diagram that illustrates the boundaries of City and resident sewer lines.

For questions or concerns regarding sewer related issues, please contact the Public Works Department at (248) 473-7250.

Preventing Sewer Line Blockages

In order to ensure that the residential sewer lines stay clear of debris, there are several measures that can be taken, which can help prevent blockages and backups. Items that are flushed down a toilet may block the small 3-inch diameter pipe causing blockages and backups in your toilet. There are ways to prevent this by following the guidelines for what to flush down your toilet. Other reasons that sewer lines may become full of debris have to do with the improper disposal of fats, oils, and grease (FOG). To learn more about FOG click here.

It is possible for property owners to purchase a sewer line maintenance insurance contract from private vendors.  The City of Farmington does not offer an insurance contract, nor do we endorse any of the private vendors that offer this service.

Basement Flooding

Basement flooding is frustrating and stressful. The City of Farmington wants to help with steps you can take to fight flooding, prepare your home and recover if it does occur. The first step is to know what can cause a basement to flood, so then you can act where it matters most for your home.

An important point to check is your homeowner's insurance coverage. Does it cover basement flooding?

For more information on basement flooding click here.