Sanitary Sewer Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use the toilets and my water while the sewers are being cleaned and inspected?

    Yes. However, be careful as air pressure in the sewer during the cleaning and inspection can sometimes cause water to splash out through toilets, sinks and drains. Remember to close the lids on all toilet bowls when not in use, and insert drain plugs in all sinks and bathtubs when not in use.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • Do I need to do anything before the sewers are cleaned/inspected on my street?

    Yes. Occasionally during cleaning and inspection, air movement in the sewer can cause water to splash out through toilets, sinks and drains. This is often a result of inadequate venting within the plumbing system of the home. Ensuring your homes plumbing system is in good condition and is up to current codes can reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Take the following precautions to prevent water damage in your home: 


    - Close the lids on all toilet bowls when not in use.

    - Insert drain plugs in all sinks and bathtubs when not in use.

    - Remove all floor mats in bathrooms.

    - Place an old towel around the base of toilets.

    - If you have a float plug in your floor drain or a backwater valve installed in your house, ensure that it is free of debris and operating properly.

    - Wrap the cover of your basement floor drains with thick plastic (i.e., a freezer bag). Place something heavy over the floor drains to keep the plastic-covered floor drain covers in place.


    If you are running your cold water tap to prevent your water line from freezing during the winter, run water from a tap at the highest elevation in the house (i.e. main floor or upper level, not basement) without inserting the drain plug. Please follow the precautions above for all remaining fixtures (toilets, sinks, and drains).

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • Does the City clean and inspect the sewers at the same time?

    We clean and inspect some sewers at the same time. We clean others and then return later to inspect them with CCTV (closed circuit television). 

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • How does the City clean the sewers?

    We use a high-pressure nozzle to flush water down the sewer. The dirt and debris are sucked up through a manhole by a large vacuum truck and taken to a disposal site.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • How does the City inspect the sewers?

    We insert a remotely operated closed circuit television (CCTV) camera into the sewer to record its condition. From the video we can tell if we need to repair or replace the sewer.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • How long does it take to clean the sewers on each street?

    It usually takes a few hours to clean each street. However, some sewers can take longer, depending on their size and condition.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • Ways you can protect your home against sewer backup.

    The sewer cleaning and inspection program is one of the steps that we take to reduce the risk of sewer backup. 

     Homeowners should ensure that any work that is done to your plumbing system is done with permits issued from the City's Building Division. This will reduce any risks related to faulty plumbing.

    There are steps you can take to protect your home against basement flooding, including:

    - install a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system with a building permit

    - check and maintain your backwater valve and sump pit drainage system regularly

    - improve surface drainage at ground level away from your house

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • What are sanitary sewers?

    Sanitary sewers are underground pipes that carry wastewater from homes and businesses to one of the Town's two wastewater treatment plants where it is treated and then released back to the lake. Everything you pour down your drains or flush down your toilet goes into a sewer.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • Why is the City cleaning and inspecting the sewers?

     The cleaning and inspection program keeps the sewer system operating efficiently by: 

    - helping prevent blockages and backups

    - removing built-up debris, such as tree roots, grease, grit and sand

    - determining the condition of the sewer so we can repair or replace sewers as necessary

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer

  • Will I notice anything after the sewers have been cleaned/inspected on my street?

    Sometimes the sewer cleaning and inspection leaves an odour in the home. If so, run some water down the sink and bathtub drains, flush the toilets, pour a pail of water into each basement floor drain, and open the windows. After a short time, the odour should disappear.

    Categories: Sanitary Sewer