What Homeowners Need To Know

How Homes are Connected to the Sewer System

How often do we think about the wastewater we generate in our homes? Everyday, we flush the toilet, take showers or wash dishes without thinking about where it goes next. As long as we don't experience any clogged drains, we assume that the sewer system is working properly. And in dry weather, for the most part, it is.

However, in Sellersburg (and many surrounding communities in the region), wet weather - rain or snow melt - creates a host of problems throughout the sewer system that result in raw sewage flowing into our waterways.

A basic understanding of how your home is connected to the sewer system will bring this underground, out-of-sight problem into clear view.

Home Sewer Connections

Fresh water enters the home through a main water supply line from the municipal water company. Inside the home, the main water supply splits into two sets of pipes: the hot water pipes lead to the hot water heater first and then follow a set of cold water pipes throughout the home supplying bathroom fixtures, such as showers and sinks as well as kitchen dishwashers and clothes washers.

Every time we turn on a faucet, wash a load of laundry or flush the toilet, we generate wastewater, which is measured by a water meter connected to the main water supply line. The average person in Sellersburg uses 100 gallons per day.

As we use the water, it flows into a drain in the home and passes through a trap, a U-shaped pipe that holds water and prevents sewer gases from entering the home. If the trap becomes dry from non-use, you may notice a sewer odor; pouring water into the unused drain will refill the trap and eliminate the odor.

After passing through the trap, the wastewater continues to flow downward through large drain pipes that eventually exit the home underground at one location - through a pipe called a house lateral. The house lateral runs the length of your property usually out to the street or the rear of your property where it connects to the public sewer system. Laterals generally have a cleanout, an opening that allows for removing any debris or obstructions that might block the flow of wastewater.

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