Sewer Spills

How to Report a Sewer Spill

To report a sewer spill during normal business hours, please call 951-769-8520. To report a sewer spill after normal business hours please contact the Beaumont Police Department at 951-769-8500. 

Business Hours:

  • Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am -5:00 pm
  • Friday: 8:00 am -12:00 pm  

What is a sewer spill?

Sewage spills occur when the wastewater transported in underground pipes overflows from a manhole, broken pipes and or service lateral cleanouts. Sewage spills can potentially cause health hazards, cause damage to homes, businesses and threatens the environment, local waterways and beaches.

How do I identify a sewer spill?

Sewage spills can be very noticeable, usually gushing water from a manhole, or a slow water leak that may take time to be noticed. Don’t dismiss wet areas that cannot be accounted for. Be aware of:

  • Drains backing up inside the building.   
  • Wet ground and water leaking around manhole lids on your street.   
  • Seeping sewage (water) from service lateral cleanouts and outside drains.   
  • Unusual odorous wet areas such as sidewalks, external walls, ground and or landscape around buildings.

What about sewer spills on private property?

Each property is connected to the public sewer system by means of a service lateral. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the service lateral to the point of connection to the public sewer line. Should a backup or overflow of sewage occur in the service lateral, the property owner or tenant must take immediate steps to clear the obstruction and to stop the discharge of sewer from their property. Allowing sewage to discharge into a gutter, storm drain or onto public property is a violation of State Health, Safety and Water Codes. 

What are the most common causes of sewage spills?

  • Grease is the most common cause of pipe blockages. Grease builds up and eventually block sewer pipes. Grease enters the sewer system from household drains and from poorly maintained commercial grease traps and interceptors.
  • Structure problems are caused by roots in the sewer lines. Roots enter the sewer line through cracked or broken pipes seeking moisture. Once established, roots continue to grow and expand in the sewer line eventually causing a blockage.
  • Infiltration of groundwater and rainwater into the sanitary sewer system. Infiltration is a result of pipe defects or illegal connections of yard and or roof drains connected to the sewer system Infiltration surcharges the sewer line exceeding its capacity causing overflows.
  • Maintenance on service laterals. When preventative and or corrective maintenance is performed on your service lateral, debris such as cut root balls or grease is pushed from the service lateral into the public sewer. Once in the public sewer, this material tends to obstruct the flow of sewage eventually causing a blockage that can result in an overflow.
  • Roots can have a major impact on sewer lines. If your sewer lateral is close to a tree you need to consider scheduled maintenance to keep the lateral clear and free of roots.

How can Sewage spills be prevented?

Sewer spills can potentially cause long-term damage to the environment. You can help prevent them by:

  • Never discharging oil or grease down garbage disposals, drains or toilets.   
  • Perform periodic maintenance on your service lateral.
  • Repair structural problems on your service lateral.   
  • Disconnect illegal connections to your service lateral including yard and roof drains.   
  • Be selective with landscape planting materials that do not have aggressive root systems.   

What are some easy tips to prevent grease blockage?

Grease and oils discharged into the sewer system attach to the walls of pipes and solidify. With each discharge, another layer forms until eventually the flow of water in the pipe is restricted and begins to back up causing an overflow. By following the tips listed below you are well on your way toward maintaining a healthy service lateral and preventing costly maintenance and clean-up activities resulting from sewer backups caused by grease:

  • Pour spent household cooking oils and grease into containers, let harden and dispose with solid waste.   
  • Wipe excess oil and grease from cooking pans with a paper towel and dispose of with solid waste.   

Restaurants and Commercial establishments have grease and oil traps or interceptors to keep grease and oils out of sewer pipes. To work correctly this equipment must be:

  • Sized correctly to handle the expected amount of grease
  • Installed properly per codes
  • Maintained properly by having them cleaned and serviced regularly