Proper Care of Your Private Sewer Line

The good news is that your private sewer line is buried and protected from a lot of surface damage. The bad news is that since it is buried, you cannot tell when it is in need of repairs. However, you can use the following simple steps to properly care for your private sewer line:

  • Never put grease in any of your drains or your toilet. Grease should be stored in a container to let harden and then disposed of as trash. Your garbage disposal is not a substitute for trash or compost. Use it sparingly and flush with clean water for at least one minute after use. Large food scraps should be composted or place in your trash.
  • Cat litter, diapers, baby wipes, feminine products, hair, cigarettes, cotton balls, Q-tips, and tissues belong in the trash and not down the toilet or sink. Coffee grounds, eggshells and almost all kitchen scraps (except meat, cheese, bones, dairy products) can go in the compost pile or in the trash.
  • Check for sinkholes/depressions near your house, on your property, or in the boulevard/street near your home. Sinkholes/depressions typically imply that there is a void under the ground. Such a void might be due to a break in your private sewer line that is allowing soil from the surrounding ground to enter a section of your private sewer line.
  • For disposal of hazardous household materials and pharmaceutical waste, visit Ramsey County’s websites at How to dispose of hazardous household materials and Disposal of pharmaceutical waste.
  • Check for basement floor backups, slow drains, or odors. When a private sewer line emits odors through a floor drain, the cause could be a clog that is preventing flow of sewage through a section of the private sewer line.

Clogs are typically due to either tree roots protruding into and blocking a section of a private sewer line or debris introduced into the private sewer line via a broken or collapsed pipe section. Having your private sewer line cleaned and televised periodically is a good practice that can prevent expensive future sewer repairs. At a minimum, you should consider cleaning and televising if:

  • You have experienced problems with your private sewer line
  • Your private sewer line is more than fifty years old

Additional private sewer information

Last Edited: June 9, 2021