Sewer Service FAQ

Information About Your Sewer Service

How do I report a sewer overflow?
Please call Customer Care and Billing at 919-996-3245 (24/7)

Note: The City of Raleigh is responsible for breaks in water and sewer mains in the street, but the property owner is responsible for breaks on private property.

Reporting a problem could earn you $50, if you are the first to notify us of a Sanitary Sewer Overflow.

What can I do to prevent sewer overflows?

  • Do NOT pour grease, fats, and oils from cooking down the sink drain. Collect grease in a container and dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Do NOT use the sewer system as a means to dispose of food scraps. Place food scraps in waste containers or garbage bags for disposal with your weekly garbage collection or placed your food scraps in a compost pile.
  • Do NOT use the toilet as a wastebasket. Place a wastebasket in the bathroom to dispose of garbage. Disposable diapers, condoms, wipes, dental floss and personal hygiene products do not belong in the sewer system.
  • Residential: Keep Grease Out of the Drain (English / Spanish)
  • Keep The Grease Out (Video)
  • Apartment complex Property Managers can contact the Fats, Oils, and Grease program or call 919-996-2334 to request an educational resource kit.

What if I have sewer backup at my house? 
You can call 919-996-3471 to report a backup.  However, most sewer back-ups occur between the house and the City's sewer main.  If there is a blocked sewer service between the house and the City's sewer main, the property owner is responsible for correcting the problem.  If you have a plumber clear the blockage, make sure to request the plumber clear the blockage all the way to the City main.

For more information about your sewer service line, please refer to brochure listed below:

Do I need a backwater valve for my service line?
A backwater valve is a simple, gravity-flow activated check valve installed on a private sewer service line to prevent wastewater from flowing back into the house.  If the elevation of the lowest floor of your house is lower than the closest upstream manhole, you likely need a backwater valve.  A plumber can help determine if your house needs a backwater valve.  

Read More about Backwater Valves (PDF)

For more information:

  • Refer to Municipal Code Part 8: Public Utilities; Chapter 2: Water and Sewer Service, Article A.-General Provision, Sec. 8-2001-Definition Utility System, utility lines
  • Contact the Public Utilities Operations at 919-996-3245

How Do I report illegal dumping into the sanitary sewer system?

Call Customer Care and Billing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 919-996-3245. Reporting a problem could earn you $5,000 if you are the first to notify us of a confirmed illegal discharge.

Note: A confirmed illegal discharge would be an individual that provides evidence or information leading to the apprehension, arrest, citation or conviction for illegal discharging into the sewer system.

Only authorized personnel may access public manholes or privately owned grease interceptors for maintenance and monitoring activities. An illicit discharge or illegal dumping may result in:  Clogged or overflowing sewer lines, disruption of wastewater treatment plant processes, damage to sewer lines, buildup of toxic gases in the lines, and/or harmful discharges into the environment.

What Should I Look For?

  • Trucks discharging unknown substances into manholes in residential neighborhoods or near vacant lots, typically at night.
  • Foul smells with no apparent explanation.
  • Grease interceptors that appear to be full of water and grease shortly after a service company finishes pumping the grease interceptor.
  • Septage hauling companies that offer services for significantly less than competitors.

If you see any of these things, or suspect an illicit discharge, please let us know!  Contact Customer Care and Billing 24/7 at 919-996-3245.

Why must sewer easement be free of blockages and trees?

Sewer easements are critical access points for our staff to maintain the sewer system and respond to emergencies in case of an overflow or system failure.  If impediments such as large trees, fences, walls and sheds are present, it can significantly impact our ability to clean the sewer system and prevent sewer spills.  More information about sewer easements is available here: Sewer Easements 

Service Categories:
Sewer Maintenance