I'm trying to prepare for emegency situations, but I have no answer for this
one: if sewage backups out of my sink or toilet, what should I do? I live in
a 2 story house with crawl space, surrounded by dozens of similar houses all
built aound 20 to 30 years ago. This is not a flood zone; there is no
backflow preventer. There is also no rentention pond. The area is on a
plateau (flat for miles but is a few hundred feet above sea level).
Crawl space means no floor drains, as there would be in
a basement. Right? So, all the fixtures are well above
In that case, I would say there is zero likelihood of
backup out of toilets/sinks due to stoppage/flooding of
the city sewer.
If there was a stoppage, either in the sewer or in your
lateral connection (tree roots) AND you flushed a toilet,
then it would/could backup within your house.
Is that what you were looking for?
Isn't it possible for a neighbor to throw something in the toilet that
eventually clogs the city sewer line? If this happens, then subsequent
flushing or use of water would cause a backup. Or is the city sewer line so
large that nothing passing through a toilet could possible get stuck there?
Yes, indeed, that could happen.
But OP's house (as I understand it) only has
a crawl space with no fixtures below grade.
If the city sewer clogs or backs up, it's unlikely
that could cause sewage to flow from fixtures well
above grade (though one can't rule it out altogether).
This is a commonly held belief that seems to be wrong.
See this link - it is the best explanation I have found so far.
Tree roots don't attack sewer lines. Sewer lines deteriorate and or fail
and then the resulting escape of water and air creastes an environment that
attracts tree roots.
Also, while it is a very good idea to prepare for an emergency, you can only
prepare to deal with things that you can have some control or influence
over. If there is a blockage of the City sewer main there is nothing the
homeowner can do except call the municipal authority and wait for them to
respond. If there is a true emergency going on, I suspect the municipality
has other things on their minds.
Then there's this:
"Neighbors of sewage plant sue to block it"
It's a jungle out there.
I make sure the outside cap on my cleanout pipe is on loose. Hopefully in
an emergency the cap will pop and sewage will go out on the lawn.
Normally you only have backflow preventors if your lowest drain is below the
top of the manhole cover. I suggested to an engineer that they should be
installed between floors in multistory houses. He thought it would be a
good idea but a plumber thought it would make major cleanouts a PIA.
I'd suggest at least three days of food and water for every person in
the household and two weeks of pet food. One handgun with 250 rounds
of ammo and a long gun with 100 rounds of ammo for that. Any
medicines and the above along with extra clothing should be packed in
bug out bags ready to grab in case of emergency
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