Sewer Maintenance

Street Division crews are responsible for the maintenance and repair of over 550 miles of storm and sanitary main lines throughout the city.

Reporting sewer backups:

Sewer trouble should be reported to the Oshkosh Street Division.
On weekdays from 7:00 AM – 4:30 PM, call 232-5380. After hours and weekends call 232-5365 or 236-5700.

Sanitary Sewer Backup

What to do if your sanitary sewer backs up

If a backup occurs in a building, first check to see if it backs up only when facilities such as a toilet, tub, washer or sinks are used. If so, it is a possibility that you need a plumber. If you have sewage backing up when you have not used any of the facilities, it is a possibility that it is the City main.

If a blockage in the private building sewer is the cause of the sewer backup, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clear the blockage. (The private building sewer extends from the interior plumbing of the building to where the pipe connects to the public sewer main, most frequently located at the center of the street or alley.) There are various private firms listed under septic tanks and systems – cleaning, sewer cleaners or sewer contractors, in the Yellow Pages who are equipped to remove the blockage from your private building sewer.

In the event that any of these actions are not successful in removing the blockage from the private building sewer, it is possible that the private building sewer has collapsed. At this point the property owner may require the services of a qualified contractor to repair or replace the private building sewer.

If you feel that it is a blockage in the City main, call the Street Division at 232-5380 between the hours of 7:00 am – 4:30 pm, after hours and weekends please call 232-5365. Sewer Maintenance personnel will contact you as soon as possible, so be sure to leave your name, address and telephone number.

The City Sewer Maintenance crews will first check the public sewer main to determine if it is causing your sewer backup. If the public main is operating normally, indications are that your private building sewer is the cause of the sewer backup. The emergency crew will immediately attempt to notify the property owner or the residents of this fact.

How to prevent sanitary sewer backup

If you have experienced backup from your building sewer, you might consider the installation of backup devices, which may be installed by your qualified plumbing company or contractor. They can assist you in the best methods and products.

Do no plant trees and shrubs over the private building sewer. The roots of trees, particularly Silver Maple and Willow trees will seek out the joints of the sanitary sewer and eventually clog the pipe.

Do not put large amounts of vegetable waste, such as pea pods and potato skins, through the garbage disposal at one time. Even though these materials will go through the garbage disposal, they may clog the private building sewer. This also applies to large amounts of grease and paint, which will build up in the building sewer over a period of time eventually causing a blockage. Keep lint traps in the sinks, which drain washing machines in place. It is easier to clean out the lint traps than it is to clean out the building sewer.

If the building sewer serves a commercial establishment in which a grease trap is required, the grease trap should be cleaned periodically to prevent the solids from bypassing into the building sewer.

If you smell sewer gas, check to see if all sewer traps are filled with water and check to see if the cap on the sewer cleanout is on tight. If the gas smell persists, call your plumber and have your system checked.

Additional information can be found at the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) website.