Maintaining Your Private Plumbing

The customer is responsible for all normal maintenance of the wastewater service line on private property. This falls into four major categories:

  • Regular maintenance
  • Long term care
  • Potential problems
  • Emergency care

Regular maintenance

  • Removal of materials that are flushed, dropped, or inserted into the wastewater line (toys, diapers, etc.).
  • Removal of construction debris
  • Removal of tree roots that may grow into the private service lateral

Long Term Care

  • Pipes will age and become susceptible to infiltration or collapse. A property owner or customer should have private service laterals inspected by a licensed plumber. Replace aging pipe as necessary.
  • The property owner and/or customer should know where the private clean-out is and keep the area maintained so that it is accessible.
    • If a problem exists between the home and the township clean-out, it is the resident's responsibility to correct the problem.
    • If you do not have a private clean-out, it is advisable to have a plumber install one when they are making a service call.
    • Once installed, you may either call a plumber or open the private clean-out to clear a stoppage.
  • It is the property owner's responsibility to maintain a private clean-out.
  • The property owner and/or customer should know the location of manholes, township service laterals, and wastewater collection mains. Do not place permanent structures in these areas.
  • The property owner and/or customer should know the location of water and wastewater service lines cross the property. Avoid these areas when planting landscape plants and/or trees. Do not place permanent structures over water and wastewater service lines.

Potential Problems

  • Homeowners may notice a slow flowing private plumbing drainage system and hear gurgling noises from the toilet bowls and observe wet areas around floor drains after completing laundry. A complete blockage may occur if no remedial action is taken.
    • A blockage will cause a backup through floor drains and toilets at the lowest point in the structure. An overflow will continue until the blockage is removed or until wastewater is no longer entering the line.
  • Tree roots seeking moisture can grow through cracks in the pipes. Roots will expand in wastewater service lines exerting great pressure. Pipes structurally damaged by severe root intrusion will require replacement.
  • Kitchen grease and other flushable items may accumulate and cause a blockage. Do not put grease or oils down the drain.
  • Illegal hookups allow excess water into the lines and overload the wastewater collection system. Rain gutters, pool drains, or other drainage systems should never be connected to the wastewater collection system.

Emergency Care

  • If a private plumbing drain does not work, determine if the problem is confined to a single drain or the entire house
    • If only one drain is affected, the property owner should make the repair or call a plumber
    • If the whole house is affected, look for a clean-out at the property line
  • If there is a city clean-out, call the township phone number at 610-631-0450
  • This clean-out may be under pressure
    • township cleanout should only be opened by township staff or persons authorized by the township
    • A township crew will respond
  • If a property owner does not have a township clean-out, the property owner or customer is advised to check with next door neighbors to see if they are also experiencing a problem. The city will respond if more than one residence on a line is out of service with a "check main line" call
  • If a clean-out is not at the property line, and the neighbors do not have a problem or the property owner or customer is unable to contact them, the property owner or customer should call a plumber
  • If the plumber determines that the problem is at the property line or in the township wastewater collection system, the plumber should call the township and a crew will be sent