FAQs

What all the drains in your house are? Where do they lead? What are they for? Here are a few answers to common questions:

Storm Sewer: Storm sewers carry ground water run-off as well as rain water. Your household sump-pump carries water from your sump pit to the street where it then goes into the storm sewer. Because these sewers lead directly to waterways, waste products should never be let into them.

Sanitary Sewer: These sewer lines carry waste products to the city water treatment plants. Depending on where you live and the city set-up, a sanitary line may lead to a lift station on its way to the treatment plant.

Septic System: In outlying areas (those not serviced by city sewers) septic systems manage your drain systems. Sanitary sewer lines from your house run into the septic tank, which then holds it while bacteria breaks certain parts of it down. The tank then empties into a drain field.

Drain Tile: This pipe is typically corrugated plastic piping (with ridges) and has slots in the top. Ground-water as well as rain-water run-off run into these pipes, which then leads the water to an area where it is fed into a storm sewer. Drain Tiles can also be made of clay.

Main Line: This is the main line that leads out of your house to the city connection. All drains in your house (with the exception of the run-off lines) go to the main line.

Floor Drain: The line directly below the basement or lowest level floor, this is the closest line to the main line.

Bathroom Drains: These drains include toilets, showers, tubs and bathroom sinks. Tub drains as well as toilets can sometimes get odd items stuck in them, such as toys or even cell phones.

Kitchen Drains: Kitchen sink drains may also have a garbage disposal attached. These lines lead to the main line. It's always best not to pour grease down your kitchen sink, even if you have a disposal. If you do end up with grease in the line, flush it with COLD water, not warm or hot, as the warmer temp will melt the grease, and cause potential larger clogs as it may stick to the side of the pipe.

Washer Lines: These lines are often allowed to flow through a sump, and into the storm sewer system.

Lateral: Another name for the main line coming out of your house. If you have need to contact the city about your lines, they may refer to the lateral-this is what connects to the main city sewer.

Vent: There are vents leading from your drainage system. These vents allow gases and odors to be released in a place other than in your home. If you ever smell sewer gas in your home, call a professional immediately.

Sump Pump: This pump is designed to release water that flows into a pit in your house from the drain tile that surrounds your house. Water that goes through this system is also called grey water, and is considered run-off.

Smoke Testing: This is an efficient and cost effective way to find leaks in sewers and plumbing systems. By forcing smoke-filled air through a sewer or plumbing system, leaks can be detected as smoke escapes through the problem areas.

Die Testing: This is a non-toxic dye that is used to confirm rain or ground entry points into the sanitary sewer system. Dyed water, in some instances, is injected into the ground around foundations to check for connections of foundation drains. It is also used to check the downstream of a sewer manhole, and if a cleanout is present, it is checked for the presence of dyed water. Dye testing is one way of helping to determine where a pipe drains if it is not obvious by observation or shown on existing plans records. Dye testing can also help identify inappropriate connections.

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