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Maintain your side sewer

To prevent side sewer problems, know where your pipe is located, how old it is, and any known problems.  

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Did you know?

Side sewers are often the age of your house and can be made from clay, brick, concrete, iron, or plastic. Tree roots commonly enter sewer pipes and can cause clogs and overflows. 

Every property has one sewer pipe that connects the building(s) or house to the larger sewer system. This is a side sewer. Side sewers need maintenance, which the property owner is responsible for. You can maintain your side sewer by not flushing garbage or rinsing grease down drains, and by planting trees and shrubs with low root damage potential.


  • When buying a new house, always get a side sewer inspection. 
  • If you are remodeling or landscaping make sure you know where the side sewer is first. 
  • Know the 24-hour emergency contact for your local sewer utility for issues with odors or overflows. 
  • Know how old your sewer line is and the condition it is in. Plan to have it eventually replaced if it has cracks and leaks. Check with your local city for permitting questions. 
  • Call before you dig! Find out about the location of side sewers before you start a home project.  



Helpful Hint: Slow drains and/or sewer odors can indicate side sewer problems. 
Download the Know Your Sewer System card

Consider referring to Seattle Public Utilities side sewer defect and issues