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Q & A 

DEALING WITH SEWER BACKUPS  ?

Sewage backing up through the drains in your home or business is a very unpleasant situation,however, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you.
For starters, if an overflow occurs, you should discontinue your inside water use until the problem is corrected.  If you continue to use water and the sewer line is already blocked, the water has nowhere to go but back up through your drains and toilets and into your home or business.
Any number of causes could be responsible for the sewer backup.  Some of the causes include:
• Kitchen grease, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, and even the accumulation of some  types of cleaning materials and detergents can lead to a blockage.
• Tree roots are a big problem, especially with older sewer lines, as they will grow through  cracks in the line to seek moisture.
• Illegal hookups to the sewer system will allow excess water into the lines.  Items such as   rain gutters and sump pumps should never be hooked into the sewer system.  The City's   sewer system is only designed to accommodate a certain amount of water, and rainwater,  particularly during periods of heavy rain, would overload the system and cause problems.
Do you have a clean out?
A clean out is a pipe that rises to ground level from the sewer line and is normally capped.Many times, clean outs become hidden or buried over the years, and are not readily accessible.In the case of an older home, a clean out may not have been installed when it was built.  If your property doesn't have a clean out, it would probably be a good idea to contact a licensed plumber to install one for you.
If you have a sewer clean out available, the Public Works Department will be able to tell whether the blockage is on your side or the City's side.  If the blockage is in a City sewer line,our personnel will be able to remove it and end the back-up.  If the blockage is in your sewer line, you will have to contact a plumber to clear the blockage for you.
Hopefully, you will never have a problem with a sewer backup.  However, if you do, you can minimize any damage to your property by taking the following preventative measures:

Q: How can I tell if my home has a sewer clean out?
A: If you are unsuccessful in locating one, you either do not have one or it may be buried under dirt or concrete.
A: No. Sewer clean outs belong to the property owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner to install a property line clean out.
High Water Bill?There are several ways to find out if your water bills are higher than they need to be.
1. Fix a leaky faucet promptly. Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or leaks.
Periodically check your toilets for leaks by:
2. Turn off the main water valve inside your home and then go outside and check your water meter. If it is still turning you may have an underground leak. Chicago + plumber + local 
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