1. My basement is backed up with sewage. Whom should I call; what should I do?
Call MTMA (Moon Township Municipal Authority) at 412-264-4300 during office hours or Moon Township Police after office hours at 412-262-5000.
Several questions that you might consider when trying to determine the possible cause of a sewer problem/stoppage are:
1. Is the problem with an individual fixture such as the kitchen sink? If so, you may attempt to clear the blockage yourself or contact a plumber/sewer drain cleaner.
2. Is the problem with a commode located above the lowest level (floor) of the building? If yes, you may attempt to clear the blockage yourself or contact a registered plumber/sewer drain cleaner.
3. Is the problem with the lowest facility (toilet, shower, floor drain, or laundry tub in the house/building? If yes, contact MTMA to investigate.
4. Is the service backing up constantly, even when the occupants on the premises are not using the facilities? If yes, contact MTMA to investigate.
When a sewer bacup is not in the lowest level plumbing fixtures, we suggest you contact a registered plumber or sewer drain cleaner for assistance with the problem. An upstairs sewage blockage, when lower level drains function, indicates the problem is at that fixture or within the homes plumbing. If you are unsure, please contact MTMA for assistance.
2. What is a sewer lateral (service) and for what portion am I responsible?
The contractor installing the sewer main generally installs the sewer service from the main to the property line or easement limit. MTMA is responsible for maintaining the individual sewer service (lateral) from the main to the property line. Service lines (laterals) are generally 4" or 6" for private homes. The service line, from the property line to the house and sewer pipes within the house, are the responsibility of the homeowner.
3. Whom should I call about sewer odor?
An obstruction in the main (in the street) or service line can cause sewer odor where gases are trapped, but a backup is not occurring. The gases can escape through manholes or the drains in customers' homes or buildings. Unless the odor is isolated to one fixture or in an upper bathroom only, call MTMA to investigate.
Sewer odor can be caused because floor drain traps or plumbing fixture traps are empty. Please turn your water on at each sink and let it run for 15 seconds. This will ensure that there is water in the plumbing fixture traps.
Also, add approximately 2 cups of water to your floor drains. If the floor drain is dry, sewer gas can get into the house and cause an odor problem.
If you're leaving the house for an extended period, ensure that the toilet bowls, fixture traps, and floor drain traps have water in them.
4. What causes sewer clogs/backups?
There are several causes of clogged sewers. Flushing of wipes, diapers, and feminine hygine products are a modern cause of sewer clogs. No wipes, diapers, or hygine products are flushable. In our area, one of the main causes is roots from trees that may enter at the joints of pipes or cracks in older pipe. (Roots seek water and they often force their way right through the cracks in the pipe.) Also, broken pipe may allow soil to enter and cause a problem. Grease is also a main cause of clogged sewers. Introduced into the sewer lines by occupants, grease can harden or collect resulting in stoppages and backups. Don't pour grease into a sink drain or garbage disposal.
5. What can I do to prevent mainline sewer backups?
Be careful what you put down the drain. Several Items that should not be put into your sewer system are: wipes, feminine hygine products, paper towels, diapers, grease, paints/solvents, chemicals, antifreeze, oils, and any item that will not dissolve. Please deposit grease, food scraps, wipes, diapers, and feminine hygine products in the trash for disposal.
6. What are manholes? Where are they located?
MTMA and other utilities use manholes to access our underground infrastructure. Our crews also use manholes to clear stoppages. Manholes are located in the street, right of way, or in a MTMA utility easement. Please do not block access to or bury manholes.
7. What is a clean out? Where is it located?
A clean out is an entry point into the sewer main or service line that is used to clear the line of any obstruction. A clean out can be located either inside or outside of a house/building. MTMA maintains sewer main clean outs only. The maintenance of any cleanout located inside a building or on the owner's service lateral is the owner's responsibility. Be careful not to damage or bury cleanouts.
8. What is a sewer site tee?
Newer sewer service lines have a riser pipe at the property line or limit of the utility easement to separate the MTMA portion of the service line from the customer owned portion of the sewer service line. These have been installed on new service lines since 1996.