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WHY DO SEWER BACKUPS OCCUR FROM PRIVATE BUILDING SEWERS? Sewer backups can occur when a private building sewer becomes clogged with roots, grease, or other materials and/or the pipe is broken/collapsed. A building sewer is the underground sewer pipe that connects the plumbing in your home to the public sewer system. It can also be called a house tap, lateral line, or building sewer lateral. Backups can also occur when the City sewer main is clogged, or surcharged from excessive flows during heavy rain events causing the sewage to backup into the sewer lateral.
WHO SHOULD I CALL TO REPORT A SEWER BACKUP? If you experience a sewer backup and are not sure whether your private building sewer or the public sewer causes it, please contact the Moline Utilities Department at 309-524-2300 upon discovery. The City has emergency standby personnel available 24/7 to investigate and address back-ups calls.
Once you report a sewer backup, a representative from the City Utility Department. will come out to conduct a preliminary investigation. As part of our investigation, the representative will check the nearest upstream and downstream manholes in the system to check for flow, which will help determine whether the blockage is in the City owned sewer main, or if it is in the sewer lateral.
We will attempt to contact you to discuss the findings of our preliminary investigation. If the City sewer main is causing the backup, the City will get a crew out as soon as possible to clean the main to remove the blockage, or if necessary, initiate emergency repairs to mitigate the cause of the back-up. If the sewer main is flowing as designed, the representative will advise you of their findings and recommend that you contact a plumber and/or drain cleaning company to clean and inspect your line. While the clog/blockage of the lateral may be due to structural failure on the City side of the lateral, the first step to diagnose the problem is to call a plumber/drain cleaning company. In the event that the findings show a structural failure on the City right-of-way, your expenses will be reimbursed by the City.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO UNCLOG OR REPIAR THE SEWER LATERAL? The property owner is responsible for keeping the entire lateral clear of clogs caused by roots, grease, or other materials. For repairs, or clogs caused by broken pipe or other deficiencies in the pipe, the property owner is responsible for that portion of the lateral that lies on private property, whereas, the City is responsible for the portion that lies within the public right-of-way.
What to expect when contacting a plumber and/or drain cleaning company. It is always a good practice to obtain more than one price quote when contracting a repair, or someone to unclog your lateral. When contacting a plumber, ensure they are an Illinois Licensed Plumber. When contacting a drain cleaning company, ask if their work is guaranteed, and if so, for how long. When getting a proposal(s), ask the drain cleaner if they televise after cleaning the line to ensure that they have successfully identified and cleared the obstruction(s) that caused the clog. It will cost extra to televise the line, but it is the only way to determine the cause, and that it has been alleviated. If your lateral is televised, make sure the contractor provides you with a copy of the video inspection footage. If they inform you that it is on the City’s side of the lateral, please ask them to contact the City on your behalf to share their findings. If the drain cleaning contractor and/or plumber is unable to reinstate flow, please contact the City as soon as possible.
WHAT CAUSES SEWER GAS ODORS IN A HOME?
There are many ways in which sewer odor can creep into your home. Sewer gas can come from anything that is attached to your sewer line. The first thing you must do is find the source of the sewer gas.
Here are some of the most common causes for sewer gas leaks in a home.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SMELL SEWER GAS?
If you smell sewer gas inside of your home, you should open up windows to introduce fresh air into your home. Dependent on your level of comfort, you can investigate and try to determine from where the smell is coming from. It may be as easy as running water in a fixture that is not used often, or pouring water down a floor drain(s). If you are not comfortable investigating, you should contact a plumber to investigate. If the smell is coming from outside of the home, please contact the City at 309-524-2300 and the City will send out a representative to investigate the odor.
If you smell sewer gas, try pouring water into the drain traps. One of the most common traps to dry out, possibly unnoticed, are floor drains like those typically placed near home furnaces and water heaters. Infrequently used utility sinks, tubs, showers, and toilet wax rings are also common culprits. If pouring water into the floor drain does not eliminate the odor, contact us at the numbers listed below for assistance. Sewer odors are handled on an emergency basis. A crew will respond to determine the problem and will leave a door tag that explains their findings if no one is home. This is a free service. FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE: Monday through Friday, 7:00am - 3:30pm: call 309.524.2300 After 3:30pm or on weekends and holidays: call 309.524.2300 You can also submit a request for a non-emergency situation.
If sewer water is backing up into your basement, contact us at the numbers listed below for assistance. Sewer backups are handled on an emergency basis. A crew will respond to determine the problem and will leave a door tag that explains their findings if no one is home. This is a free service. FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE: Monday through Friday, 7:00am - 3:30pm: call 309.524.2300 After 3:30pm or on weekends and holidays: call 309.524.2300 You can also submit a request for a non-emergency situation.
The purpose of Moline's Basement Backup Prevention Program (also known as the Backwater Valve Program) is to provide assistance to the City's residential property owners by reimbursing a portion of the cost for the installation and materials of backwater valves on sewer service lines attached to City sewer mains. A backwater valve is a fixture attached to a sewer line, in the basement of a home or building foundation, to aid in the prevention of sewer or drainage backflows. Typically, property owners are responsible for all costs associated with the installation and maintenance of backwater valves. Currently, this program is only available to single-family, owner-occupied residences within the City of Moline. Commercial and industrial properties are not eligible.
For more information about this program, please contact 309.524.2300, Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 4:00pm.
If you notice a manhole cover missing or ajar from the opening, contact us at the numbers listed below for assistance. These situations have the potential for causing bodily injury or property damage, and are handled on an emergency basis. A crew will respond to determine the problem. This is a free service. FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE: Monday through Friday, 7:00am - 3:30pm: call 309.524.2300 After 3:30pm or on weekends and holidays: call 309.524.2300 You can also submit a request for a non-emergency situation.
If you notice a sinkhole forming that could cause bodily injury or property damage, contact us at the numbers listed below for immediate assistance. Severe sinkholes of this nature are handled on an emergency basis. A crew will respond to determine the problem. This is a free service. FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE: Monday through Friday, 7:00am - 3:30pm: call 309.524.2300 After 3:30pm or on weekends and holidays: call 309.524.2300 You can also submit a request for a non-emergency situation.
The City's wastewater system provides essential public health protection for the people of Moline. The federal Clean Water Act requires municipalities like the City of Moline to treat its wastewater. In Moline, treated wastewater is discharged to either the Mississippi or Rock Rivers. Treatment helps protect aquatic life as well as keep waters safe for fishing and recreational uses. Our wastewater treatment plants remove suspended and dissolved solids from water, and reduce organic matter and pollutants. They also disinfect the wastewater to ensure that discharged water does not contain pathogenic bacteria life.
In the second stage, or secondary treatment, 85 - 95% of pollutants are removed. Air is mixed with wastewater, along with bacteria and other microorganisms that are grown and maintained at the treatment plant. These organisms consume harmful organic matter. A sedimentation tank allows the microorganisms and the solid wastes, which they have converted to, settle and separate from wastewater. Chlorine is added to wastewater as a disinfectant before it is discharged.
The solids that were removed from both primary and secondary treatment are sent for further processing in digestion tanks where they decompose. When stabilized, these bio-solids meet all local, state and federal regulations for utilization for beneficial land application reuse as fertilizer.
Three main by-products are created by wastewater treatment: bio-solids, methane gas, and water. Bio-solids can be used to fertilize land, as discussed below. As solids decompose in the digestion process, they produce methane gas. Methane gas is now used to heat process tanks at the treatment plant. It will eventually be utilized to produce a portion of the electrical and heating energy needs of the plant.
Bio-solids are the treated solid material left over from the wastewater treatment process. Currently, Moline's South Plant bio-solids are applied to farmland as fertilizer. The solids from the North Plant are taken to the landfill, as they are not reducible by digestion and contain a low percentage of organic material, making them less beneficial for land application.
Your property, street or curb may be marked with colored spray paint to locate the utility lines.