Ownership & Maintenance Responsibilities
Pinellas County Utilities customers who own property are responsible for maintaining the private sewer lateral, or sewer pipe, that connects their house or building to the property line. Pinellas County Utilities is responsible for the sewer lateral in the public right of way, the connection fitting, and the public sewer main pipe that conveys the community’s sewage to one of our water reclamation facilities.
What is Inflow and Infiltration (I&I)?
Inflow and infiltration are terms used to describe the ways groundwater and stormwater enter sanitary sewer systems. Typically this occurs through missing clean-out caps, cracks, breaks, and leaking joints in the pipe collection system. Sanitary sewers pipes are designed to convey wastewater from sanitary fixtures inside a house or place of business to a wastewater treatment facility. Sanitary fixtures include toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, and lavatories. Wastewater and stormwater should never mix.
What Problems do Inflow and Infiltration cause?
Inflow and infiltration are a cause of sanitary sewer overflows and backups that release raw sewage into the environment and homes. In addition, excess stormwater and groundwater entering the sanitary sewer system through inflow and infiltration results in increased wastewater treatment costs, which are passed on to customers.
|Watch this short video to learn about Inflow and Infiltration and the ways groundwater and stormwater enter sanitary sewer systems.|
Life Expectancy of a Sewer Lateral?
While some sewer pipes can last many decades, depending on the material type, some wear out much sooner or are more susceptible to damage. If your home was built before 1970, your sewer lateral is likely made from clay, cast iron or “orangeburg” and may need to be repaired or replaced. Typical reasons why a sewer lateral would fail include: pipe corrosion, calcification or scale build-up, shifting soil, and tree root intrusion. One way to find out is to have your private sewer lateral inspected by a licensed plumber to determine the condition. Just as you would have your house inspected for termites or repair a home’s roof when it is damaged, so should you have your sewer lateral inspected and repaired if necessary.
What else can you do to help?
- Don’t connect roof drains and gutters to the sanitary sewer.
- Keep all clean outs capped. This will help keep unwanted water out of the sanitary sewer system.
- Do not flush feminine hygiene products, baby and ‘flushable’ wipes or other non-biodegradable items down the toilet.
- Also, don't pour grease down the drain!
Watch this short video to learn what should and should not be flushed down the toilet.
*Video courtesy of Hillsborough County