Customer Service FAQ’s
We often receive calls where water run-off from a homeowner’s property appears to be a potential sewer problem. Sewer and water service are sometimes closely located on a property and it may be difficult to assess which one it is. If you think the water maybe sewer, please call our office at (916) 786-8555 to report any potential problems. The District responds to all calls to ensure our Mainline Sewers are functioning correctly.
Your house plumbing is designed to vent sewer gas out of your home, into the atmosphere. A “trap” is designed to hold water and act as a stopper to keep sewer gas from coming out of your fixtures. Occasionally the water in these fixtures will evaporate, especially if they’ve not been used for a period of time. Running a small amount of water through your sink should eliminate any sewer gas smell. Prior to calling a Plumber, call the District and we’ll dispatch a crew to ensure that we don’t have an odor problem within our collection system.
The plumbing inside your home is the owners’ responsibility and typically the District recommends that you call a plumber. Based on the question, it appears that one portion of the house plumbing has a defect, or stoppage, which is causing the toilet water to exit back into the shower.
The sanitary sewer infrastructure in SPMUD’s service area is not connected to the storm drain systems.
The district’s sewer manholes have round lids that range in size from 26” to 48”in diameter. They typically read Sanitary Sewer or SEWER, have an “S” in the middle of the lid. In many parts of the Town of Loomis and the City of Rocklin our original manhole lids read RLMUD.
Once you have confirmed that it is a sewer manhole, please call SPMUD immediately at 916-786-8555 and our staff will respond to address the situation.
The building cleanout is your access to your sewer lateral (plumbing pipes), usually located within a few feet of your house, either near the kitchen or bathroom. They look like a 3” black cap with a square nut protruding out of the cap. A property line cleanout is located in the right-of-way at the front or side of your house. This is where the upper lateral connects to the lower lateral. Many times, when there is a blockage, it is at this connection point. The property line cleanout looks just like a normal cleanout but is made from 4” pipe.
The District does not endorse one plumbing contractor over another. However, several things to keep in mind, should you need a plumber to help clear a sewer problem:
- Call more than one Contractor to compare rates.
- Ask if they have a flat rate to clear a sewer stoppage, particularly if you have a good idea where the problem might be. If you know where your cleanouts are, and have an idea where your problem is this may be less costly.
- If you have young children, they may have flushed a toy down the toilet and it is stuck in the trap built into the toilet; this will require pulling the toilet to remove the object.
- Root intrusions from trees are common causes of a sewer stoppage. Hairline roots grow into the joints of the sewer line, looking for a good source of water. As these roots grow, they will hold up toilet paper and food waste, ultimately causing a stoppage. You can purchase root inhibitor chemicals from most home improvement stores to put in your sewer-line to kill the roots. This preventative maintenance can save you the expense of calling a Plumber, and typically does not harm your tree.
- Flushing items such as feminine sanitary products, dental floss, condoms, Q-Tips, Handi-Wipes, Baby Wipes, diapers, paper towels, or facial tissue are all made of materials that don’t break down and can easily cause blockages in your sewer pipes.
- Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) should never be poured down the sink or garbage disposal. ‘FOG’ sticks to the interior surface of the sewer pipes, hardens over time and eventually may cause sewage to backup and lead to a sewage spill in your home or on our streets. Running hot water as you pour the grease down the drain will not help either. Many people are unaware that pouring hot water and detergent down the drain only breaks up grease temporarily. The best way to get rid of FOG is to let it cool/harden, mix it with other absorbent materials, place it in a bag or container and then throw it in the trash. Remember to put FOG where it belongs.