Cleaning & Inspection Program

As part of its efforts to proactively maintain and assess the condition of the City’s wastewater collection lines, the Utilities Collections Division has a Cleaning and Inspection Program.


  • First, City staff from the Utilities Collections Division insert a nozzle that shoots water at a rate of 80 gallons per minute, which propels the nozzle up the sewer line.
  • When the nozzle reaches the upstream manhole, the hose is pulled back, cleaning the line as it goes.
  • Debris, such as tree roots, grease, rags, small rocks, etc., are brought back to the downstream manhole, vacuumed out with a truck and stored in the debris tank until it is hauled off for landfill disposal.
  • Then crews inspect the sewer line by inserting a camera to look for structural, operational or maintenance defects.

Length of Process

The length of time to inspect and clean a line depends on its length, the amount of debris and its structural condition.

What to Expect

Residents will be notified three to seven days before routine cleaning and inspection is scheduled in their neighborhood. While the process will not affect most homes, the inspection and cleaning processes can create a vacuum effect that can pull the water out of household plumbing.

Day of Cleaning

  • You may notice a sewer smell because there is no longer any water in the p-trap (under sinks, tubs and floor drains) to block the sewer smell. Simply run water down the drain to refill the trap and stop the sewer smell.
  • Put plastic wrap over your toilet bowl and then put the seat down to minimize the possibility of water splashing out in poorly vented houses.
  • Cover floor drains in the basement to minimize the possibility of water splashing out in poorly vented houses.


The Utilities Collections Division is systematically inspecting and cleaning the City’s wastewater collection system lines on a three to five-year cycle. The system is divided into three basins.