Cleanouts & Manhole Covers


Hidden Cleanouts – A Horror Story

Long ago and far away, Sam & Sally bought a new home in suburbia.  They lived happily there; raised a few kids, landscaped their yard.  They lived an idyllic life, till one day, disaster struck!  The downstairs toilet started to overflow.  They called a plumber.  He snaked the toilet and said the problem was in the pipe outside the house.  They went outside and looked for the cleanouts.  The plumber said, “There should be a cleanout very close to the house and another one close to the curb.”  With flashlight in hand, they looked and looked.  Under the bushes, between the shrubs, on the lawn, they searched. “Where are the cleanouts?” they cried.  Meanwhile, the toilet continued to backup, and the carpet was getting yucky.   “Call the mayor! Maybe he knows.”  The mayor called the public works director who called the borough road chief who called the sewer crew foreman.  The foreman called his crew in.  Meanwhile, the toilet continued to back up!  YUCK!!!  And the plumber’s time clock was ticking dollars – DOUBLE YUCK!!!
With drawings in hand, the foreman said “The line should be about here.  The drawing says the pipe is PVC so we can’t use a metal detector to locate it.  Get the shovels and let’s get digging!”  The cleanouts were finally located and the pipe was unclogged.  The end result was a ruined carpet, a stinky basement, a front yard with lots of holes, and a huge bill from the plumber.
The moral of the story is: DON’T HIDE OR BURY YOUR CLEANOUTS!   Look around your neighborhood and see that cleanouts are not easy to find.  If your cleanout is not easily visible, find it and mark it.  Or you could have this horror story happen to you.
PS – You should also know the locations of your water shutoff valves, both inside and outside your home.

Don’t Tread on Me!

Your sewer system is an important utility serving your home as well as the entire community.  One very important part of the sewer system is the manholes.   These access points allow the municipality to clean, operate, and maintain the sewer system.  They are required by the PA Department of Environmental Protection.  Occasionally, these manholes may end up in your yard.  Please refrain from the desire to bury, camouflage, or beautify these manhole covers.  One day, if your sewer becomes clogged, quick access to the manhole may be the difference between sewage backing up into your or your neighbor’s basement.   Please do not impede our rapid response.
Gases may also build up in sewers that may need to be periodically released.  So be careful where you place your barbeque pit or campfires.   Manholes are dangerous and often deep, so leave it to trained professionals.  Do NOT attempt to open or remove any manhole covers.   Piling of grass clipping and/or leaves over manholes hinders rapid access to the sewer system.  So, please don’t lose sight of the manholes and help us serve you safely.

More Sanitary Sewer Information