Common items found in sewers that shouldn't be

Published: 4/21/20 (Tue)

As the use of sanitary wipes and disposable gloves continues to rise amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, so have stories about these products being introduced (i.e. put down the drain, flushed down the toilet, etc.) into sewer systems and causing backups and clogs. 

In our Spring Participator, NDIRF Director of Member Services Corey Olson shared some of the most common culprits of sewer backups - in addition to sanitary wipes and disposable gloves - that you should keep out of your pipes to reduce the chance a sewer backup occurs on your property.

Cooking oils should never be poured down a drain. Instead, they should be placed in a heat resistant container and properly disposed. As liquefied grease cools, it solidifies, eventually causing a clog.

Paper Products
Bathroom tissue deteriorates rapidly, but other paper-based products do not. Paper towels, disposable and cloth diapers, and feminine products can quickly clog a sewer line.

Tree Roots
Newer plastic-based (PVC) water and/or sewer lines withstand infiltration of tree roots very well; however, materials used in older lines do not. Given that most homeowners don’t monitor their lines via camera, they don’t catch the problem until it’s too late.

Illegal Connections
Residents and businesses should not make any unauthorized connections to the sanitary sewer system. Illegally connected drains, sump pumps, and roof gutters will eventually clog a line.

Backwater Prevention
Valve Older lines without backwater prevention valves are vulnerable to sewage backflow. Properly functioning backwater valves prevent sewage backflow and are common in newer lines.

North Dakota local government entities that need assistance creating an educational flyer regarding safe, responsible water and/or sewer line use can contact NDIRF Director of Member Services Corey Olson at

  • Comments
  • Post a Comment