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Sewer Maintenance

BMU is responsible for maintaining the 105 miles of sewer lines that bring over 4 million gallons of wastewater to the treatment plant daily. Wastewater leaves residences and businesses in 4-6 inch diameter sewer services that empty into 8-12 inch diameter sewer mains and branch lines. As more of these branches merge, pipe sizes increase to accept the additional volume of wastewater.

With the many hills and valleys in the Berea area as well as distance to the treatment facilities, sewer lift stations or pumping stations must be employed to “lift” the sewage so that it may continue its gravity flow. These lines and pump stations must be cleaned and maintained on a regular schedule and repaired or replaced when necessary.

In an effort to keep costs to a minimum, the BMU practices proactive infrastructure maintenance and replacement to stay ahead of the aging sewer system. Some of these sewers are over 100 years old. Planned replacements and repairs are far less costly than emergency repairs.

This preventive maintenance includes periodic inspection, cleaning, and repair of the system to insure that wastewater moves freely and blockages are avoided. The Sewer Services Division has an array of equipment that is used for sewer maintenance, including CCTV units, power-rodding trucks and hydro-flusher trucks. This equipment visually inspects sewer pipes, cleans pipes and clears blockages caused by debris, fats, oils and grease, and tree roots that gather in sewer pipes. 

The property owner is responsible for all inside plumbing and for the service line until it reaches the public right of way (usually the sidewalk). 

If a backup in a City sewer main is affecting your property, please call 859-986-4391 and the necessary personnel will respond to your emergency.

Lateral Lines

A sewer lateral is the pipe that connects all the sinks, drains and toilets in your home or building to the BMU sewer main, which is usually located in the City’s right-of-way (street). The entire length of the sewer lateral, extending from your home or building to its point of connection with the City sewer main underneath the street, is your private property.

It is your responsibility as a property owner to maintain your sewer lateral. Proper maintenance includes keeping your lateral clean and clear of any obstruction, such as roots, grease and debris. The level, type and frequency of maintenance required is highly dependent on the age and type of lateral (e.g., plastic vs. cast iron) and the practices of the building occupants. Newer, plastic laterals with intact joints and seals may function for years without problems. Older laterals of concrete, clay
or cast iron may have root intrusion or deteriorated sections and require regular inspection and/or more frequent cleaning.

Sewer Back-Ups

If a sewer back-up occurs, a BMU crew will respond to check the main sewer lines. If a line is found to be blocked, the crew will purge the line to get it open. After City crews have inspected the main sewer lines, we will inform the address reporting the back-up as to our findings by telephone, knocking on the residence door, or by leaving a door hanger. Please be sure to leave an accurate address and telephone number when reporting a backup.

If the back-up does not recede after the BMU main line is found to be open or after it is purged, customers should call a professional plumber to have your home’s service line cleared. BMU cannot recommend plumbers for this service, but many can be found in the local telephone directory yellow pages.

You can minimize or eliminate such problems by being careful of what you dispose of in your drains and garbage disposals and what you flush down the toilet. Fats, oils and grease can clog laterals and eventually block the sewer mains. For information on how to prevent back-up, visit the Backup Prevention page.


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