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Private Sewers & Septic Systems

About Private Sewers & Septic Systems

Sewage from private homes must be treated to destroy disease-carrying germs and protect ground water quality. Most sewage from private property is conveyed through pipes from structures to public sanitary sewers.

The lateral pipes that connect the structures to the public sewer system are considered private sewers and are the responsibility of the property owner to maintain. Properly installed and operating sewer backwater valves are also an important part of the private sewer system.

In some parts of the City, public sewers are not available or homes were built before public sewers were available. In this case, sewage is treated on-site by an on-site wastewater treatment system (OWTS) commonly referred to as a septic system.

Since this system is on-site, property owners have complete responsibility for taking care of their septic systems. 

The City manages a number of programs that can help homeowners and businesses avoid common problems with their private sewers and septic systems. Please visit the sections shown in the left margin to learn how you can save time and money on repairs and protect the health of your neighborhood.