The private sanitary sewer system includes all the sewer plumbing in a property owners home or business and includes the sewer lateral from that home or business to the point of connection with the public sanitary sewer system. The property owner is responsible for ensuring their private sanitary sewer system is maintained properly to avoid sewer problems on their property and/or avoid contributing to problems for property owners further downstream on the public system.
What to Look For
- Have your private sewer lateral televised and/or cleaned. Grease and other substances can accumulate over time and cause blockages in the line, which can lead to a backup. Laterals can also break at joints and, depending on their location, become infiltrated with roots, which can cause the line to clog and create backups. Offset and/or broken joints and root infiltration allow groundwater to enter into the sanitary sewer system.
- If you have a sump pump in the basement, it must be disconnected from the sanitary sewer and discharge into your yard at a point away from the foundation. If the sump pump is connected to the sanitary sewer system, have the connection removed and capped, and then reroute the sump pump at least 3 feet from the foundation. Contact the Knoxville Wastewater Department for necessary permits before proceeding with any plumbing work.
- Gutter downspouts should run onto a splash block and drain at least 3 feet away from your foundation to keep the water from seeping back into your foundation drains. Downspouts can also be connected to underground drain tiles, wet basins, downspout gardens, or some other means of moving the water away from the foundation. Downspouts should never be connected to the sanitary sewer system and should be disconnected if they are found to be so. If your downspouts are connected to a pipe that goes underground and you are unsure of where it drains to, try running a garden hose into the pipe or the downspout to see where the water comes out at. If you are still unable to determine where the downspout drains, you can call a plumber to help locate where the pipe goes.
- A sump basin is a pit sometimes found in your basement floor that collects and removes any water that accumulates under the foundation of your home or business. A sump basin should discharge collected water outside to an area at least 3 feet from the foundation. A sump basin should not be directly connected to a sanitary sewer line or have a sump pump that discharges to a sanitary sewer line. If the sump basin and/or sump pump is connected to the sanitary sewer system,it is illegal. Have the connection removed and capped and reroute the sump basin and/or sump pump to discharge to daylight at least 3 feet from the foundation.
- Footing or foundation drains surround the foundation of your home or business and provide for the removal of ground water, which collects at your foundation. Foundation drains are sometimes connected to sump basins or sump pits for the removal of collected ground water and should never be connected to the sanitary sewer system. Foundation drains that are directly connected to the sanitary sewer are illegal and should be disconnected. Contact the City of Knoxville's Wastewater Department for any necessary permits before proceeding with any plumbing work.