Sewer

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Collection System
The sanitary sewer collection system includes over 800 miles of sanitary and storm sewers including force mains, 7,000 manholes, 25 sanitary lift stations and 21 storm sewer lift stations.

Responsibilities of Sewer Maintenance related to sanitary and storm sewers include:

  • Clean and clear obstruction in sewers and catch basins
  • Televise sanitary sewers to determine condition of pipe or cause of blockages
  • Emergency repairs to manholes
  • Maintenance or reconstruction of manholes, catch basins and sanitary sewers

The City of Waterloo sanitary sewer system provides service to an estimated population of 70,000 residents.

Sewer Backup Complaint: Provide emergency on-call service 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.

  • If there is not a blockage in City main, advise customer to contact a plumber.
  • If there is a blockage in City main, blockage will be cleared by sewer maintenance.

Sewer Backups During Heavy Rains:

Waterloo residents, who experience sewer backups during heavy rains, may find an effective solution to this situation.

City Code requires a backwater valve be installed to prevent sanitary sewer from entering a residence. A backwater valve should be installed in such a way that it would only affect fixtures located in the affected portion of the residence. (Example: the portion of your plumbing located in a basement would need protection; a house with no basement of the first floor of a house with a basement should not need prevention.) To ensure that property is protected, a plumbing professional should be contacted to review what is required for a particular residence. Section 710.0 and Section 710.1 of the City of Waterloo Code of Ordinances states:

Section. 710.0 Drainage of Fixtures Located Below the Next Upstream Manhole or Below the Main Sewer Level. 710.1 Drainage piping serving fixtures which have flood level rims located below the elevation of the next upstream manhole cover of the public or private sewer serving such drainage piping shall be protected from backflow of sewage by installing an approved type backwater valve. Fixtures above such elevation shall not discharge through the backwater valve.

The provisions outlined in this section of the City code are meant to protect property from sewer backups from the city sewer main.

In addition to footing drains and other connections to the sanitary system, backups in the city sewer main are caused by a variety of things and from debris being introduced into the sanitary sewer that the system was not designed to handle. The most notable item to date found in the system was a UNI football helmet. Tree roots protruding from or around service connection into the main also have been found.

The City of Waterloo Waste Management Services Department performs routine maintenance on the sewer system and all sewer mains are cleaned at least once every five years.

If citizens are having repeated backup, please have a qualified person inspect your plumbing and take measures to protect yourself and your property.

If citizens have questions, they can contact Waste Management Services Department at 319-291-4553. Staff members will be happy to discuss concerns they have regarding prevention and the City’s system.