Sewer backups and overflows are frequently caused by fats, oils and grease being placed into the sewer system. These items are lighter than water and they tend to accumulate in the sewer pipes, very similar to how cholesterol builds up in the body's blood stream and arteries until a blockage occurs. The backups could result in damage to your property or it could overflow into the storm drain causing environmental damage to rivers and streams.
If your sewer backs up, please contact the Fort Worth Water Department immediately at our 24-hour customer service number 817-FW-24-HRS (817-392-4477). A crew can make sure the blockage is not in the city-owned portion of the pipe before you incur the expense of a private plumber.
To know if there is a confirmed main break in your area click here.
It is also a good idea for all property owners and tenants to become familiar with the general layout of their plumbing system – especially the location of their sewer "clean-out" outlet. The outlet cover is usually located in the yard and allows easy access to the more distant stretches of the private sewer line so blockages may be removed. A plumber can help locate sewer cleanouts.
Residents can aid in preventing clogged sewer lines by not putting grease and greasy food scraps down the sink or garbage disposal. Grease and meat drippings should be collected in a disposable container and thrown into the trash. Any other greasy leftovers (bones, meat trimmings, etc.) should be thrown into the trash.
Tips for preventing sewer backups
Don't put greasy food scrps down the kitchen sink or garbage disposal. Instead, always use a paper towel or rubber spatula to thoroughly scrape and swipe plates and pans into the garbage can before washing.
Don't pour melted oils used for cooking down the sink or garbage disposal. Let them solidify in a container on the counter or in the refrigetaor. Then place them in the garbage.
Don't pour fats, oils, and grease from cooking down the toilet or into any drain in your home.
Don't use the sewer as a means to dispose of food scraps.
Don't pour fats, oils, and grease in the storm drain of your street because they pollute the environment.
Vegetable and meat scraps, rice, salad dressing, butter, shortening, cooking oils and many other common culinary delights eventually block your sewer. Garbage disposals use large volumes of water. Reducing or eliminating use of your garbage disposal will lower your water and wastewater bill, resulting in savings.
When you have a backup call the water department first. Most sewer backups occur between the house and the city's sewer main where the property owner is responsible for correcting the problem. If you experience a sewer backup in your home, call 817-FW-24-HRS (817-392-4477) before calling a plumber. A crew will make sure the blockage is not in the city-owned sewer main. Once it is determined where is the problem, you will be notified.
Owners & operators of restaurants and other commercial facilities need to visit the city's grease abatement webpage for more information.
To learn more visit Frequently Asked Questions.