Common Sewer Problems

Sewer Problems

Cooking grease, hair, food particles, toilet paper and roots often cause sluggish drains or line blockages. If they happen near the drain opening or toilet bowl, a plunger may be effective in clearing them. However, if the problem is some distance into a drain line, it may require a plumber to locate and resolve.

Eliminate Water

If you have a blocked or stubborn drain, the first thing you want to do is reduce or eliminate the water you put in the lines to minimize the amount of damage you may do. If you keep flushing a slow-moving toilet, it will overflow the bowl and could damage your floor.  

Washing machines can create one of the biggest problems when your drains are running slowly. Washers use 15-20 gallons a load. This water could back up into toilets or showers, possibly causing overflow damage.

Check Your Clean-out

Many homes have two clean-outs (see below). One is near the foundation of the house and the second is at or near the property line. 

First, check the clean-out next to the house to see if it has water in it. If it doesn't contain any water, then you know the blockage is somewhere in the house plumbing. If there is water standing in the cleanout, the blockage is most likely in the line from the house to the main sewer line.

If there is a cleanout near your property line and you find water standing in it, the problem is likely in the City sewer line. You should stop using your facilities and contact the Public Works Sanitary Sewer Department.  During normal business hours, Monday - Friday 7AM-4PM, contact Palmetto Public Works Department at (941) 723-4580.  During Nonbusiness hours and on weekends, please contact Palmetto Police Department at (941) 721-2000.

If there is no clean-out at the property line and water is standing in a clean-out on your property, you should also contact the Public Works Sanitary Sewer Department.

Please Note:  The Public Works Sanitary Sewer Department is not permitted to do any work on private property. The homeowner or a plumber must resolve any problem between the right-of-way and the house.

Graphic showing common sewer pipe connection to residence.  City main sewer pipe connects to City se

Helpful Hints

  • Do not dispose of your household grease in the sinks or toilets
  • Do not dispose of diapers or other disposable hygiene products in your toilets
  • Do not dispose of medicines down the drain - Find out how to properly dispose of medicine
  • Do not dispose of bones and food scraps if you do not have a garbage disposal
    • A good practice is to throw items in the garbage if you need to grind them
  • Inspect your rooftop vents and have them cleaned out by a professional
  • Place screening over your rooftop vents if you encounter a problem with rodents entering your home through your toilets