Construction: Cleanout Installation/Repair

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One of the most common types of construction we do is cleanout installations and repairs.

What is a cleanout?

A sewer cleanout is a small access pipe that our crews use to inspect and maintain the underground sewer system. Equipment can be introduced through a cleanout to inspect or perform maintenance work on our sewer pipes. Cleanouts are typically located at the connection between the customer-owned sewer pipes (upper lateral) and the SacSewer-owned sewer pipes (lower lateral). There is usually both a building cleanout, located close to the structure, and an SacSewer cleanout, located in an easement or the public right-of-way (see our 3D Sewer Diagram for a good visual).

Why are cleanouts important?

Sewer cleanouts are important because they provide SacSewer the ability to access and maintain the lower lateral. A cleanout provides prompt and direct access to diagnose and address sewer problems, and in the event of a clogged lateral, it can even help prevent or minimize sewage backups into your home or business.

How is a new cleanout installed? What are the impacts to customers?

Cleanout installations require excavating down to the underground lateral pipe. A typical excavation area for a cleanout installation spans 4 feet by 4 feet. The location of a cleanout installation depends on where the lateral was placed when the home or business was constructed. It may be in your driveway, lawn or landscaping, or a side or rear yard/area, but it will always be within an easement or the public right-of-way. During pipe connection, customers may be asked to refrain from water use and flushing toilets for a short period of time (usually about half an hour).

When construction is complete, SacSewer provides full restoration, returning the impacted area to its original or better condition.

How is an existing cleanout repaired?

At times, a defect is found in an existing SacSewer cleanout, and SacSewer needs to perform a repair. Repair work may be minor, requiring little or no construction. In some cases, however, a complete replacement could be necessary, resulting in impacts similar to the new construction described above.

What happens if I don’t have a SacSewer cleanout?

While many properties already have an SacSewer cleanout, others do not. SacSewer’s policy is to install SacSewer cleanouts at properties that do not have them. Without a cleanout, inspection and response time is delayed because SacSewer has to attempt to inspect its lower lateral through less direct means. If maintenance activity is required where a cleanout has not been installed, SacSewer has to initiate a time-consuming emergency dig-up, which results in many hours of service interruption.

Another benefit of having an SacSewer cleanout is that it typically includes a sewer relief valve that allows sewage to exit at the cleanout in the event of a sewer backup in SacSewer’s portion of the sewer system. The sewer relief valve can help prevent sewage from backing up into the home or business. Therefore, by installing cleanouts and inspecting for problems in our pipes before they occur, SacSewer is able to proactively identify and address problems before they cause service interruptions or backups.

If you think you do not have a cleanout already installed on your property, please call SacSewer at (916) 875-6730.

What if I have questions about the work on my property?

If you have questions about the details of construction or impacts to your property, contact the crew supervisor or project lead identified on the doorhanger you received. If you no longer have the doorhanger, or you did not receive one, call us at (916) 875-6730 for assistance.

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