Wastewater Utility

Sewer Backups and Flooding

When your drains or sewers give you trouble, you want immediate help, but it can be hard to know who to call. These questions and answers are intended to help you figure out where the problem is and how to get help as soon as possible.

When Should I Call the City of Enumclaw?

You should call the city immediately if sewage is coming up inside your home when you are not using water. Crews will check the City sewer system serving your area, perform maintenance as needed, and request additional maintenance crews as needed. The crew will notify you of the results as soon as possible. City crews are responsible for maintaining the main sewer lines (generally located in the street or City right-of-way), but not the side sewers themselves. Homeowners are responsible for side sewer maintenance and replacement.  City maintenance crews are available 24 hours a day during normal business hours at 360-825-5541 (Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:00pm) or via the Police Departments non-emergency number, at 360-825-3505 during non-business hours.  City permitting, engineering, and inspection staff are available Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm at 360-825-3593.

When Should I Call a Private Service?

Call a private service if you have a slow drainage or you suspect a blockage.  The problem is likely in your side sewer line. If, however, the service provider is unable to unblock the line and you still are having problems with your sewer system, call the phone numbers above before you incur any more expense.

What Is a Side Sewer?

The side sewer, also known as a lateral sewer, carries waste from your home toilets and drains to the City's main sewer line, where it continues to a wastewater treatment plant. Most homeowners experience sewer problems in the side sewer line, which they are responsible for maintaining and repairing. See the side sewer diagram below to better understand how your side sewer connects to the City's main sewer line.Sewer 1

How Do I Know Where My Side Sewer Is Located?

Cleanout access risers shown in the figure above, if they exist and are extended to the surface, are the only visible evidence of a side sewer.  Since side sewers are privately owned, your side sewer will not be located by calling the 811 utility locate service.   If you are unsure of where your side sewer is located you can call the City at the phone numbers above during business hours to request if the City has any information on file for your side sewer.  

Which Private Sewer Company Should I Call?

Companies offer a full range of services, including unblocking, repairing and replacing lines or pipe, but some specialize only in certain areas. Make sure to ask which services are provided. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations.  You also may check with the Better Business Bureau at (253) 830-2924 to find reputable companies.  A permit is required for any repair and repairs performed in the City right-of-way, even if they're on part of your private side sewer system, must be done by a contractor licensed and bonded to work in Enumclaw. You may find them listed under "Sewer Contractor." Since companies offer a wide range of prices, it's a good idea to get at least three written bids before choosing a company.

Rooter services unclog plumbing and private side sewers using water pressure or mechanical "snakes." Make sure the rooter service's snake cable is long enough to reach from your side sewer to the City's main sewer line (typically located underneath the street or alley).  Rooter companies also might repair and/or replace side sewers.

Side sewer contractors repair and/or replace structural problems, such as breaks or holes in side sewers. Some contractors also might unclog lines.

Plumbers repair leaky or broken fixtures and install systems in new construction and remodeling. If only some of your fixtures are not draining, or if your pipes are leaking, a plumber might be able to remedy the problem.

What Questions Should I Ask the Service Provider?

We recommend asking the following questions of your service provider and making sure they are answered in writing - legibly - at the time of service.  Have the service provider sign and date the answers.  This step is essential for your protection in case of a future problem with your private service provider.  If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to check with us.

Where Is the Blockage?

If you have your line cleaned have the service provider write down the specific footage where the blockage was found - or at least where the provider thinks it is. Also have the provider mark the spot of the blockage and the entire side sewer alignment on the ground.  Make measurements from fixed reference points (building corner etc) and take photographs of the marks.  This information is helpful for future reference and in determining if the problem is within the City's main and to call 811 for utility locates before digging up the pipe to repair it.

What Is Causing the Problem?

Have the service provider write down the probable cause of the blockage. Identifying the type of blockage is helpful in determining what method should be used to open it, and in determining if regular maintenance of your side sewer is needed to prevent further backups.

Should A TV Camera Be Used to See Blockages In My Line?

TV cameras generally are not effective in determining what is blocking a line. They cannot see under murky water, so if a line is blocked and not draining, the camera won't be able to properly inspect your pipes. Camera inspections are most useful after the blockage has been cleared to determine the condition of your pipes and where future problems might turn up. Be sure to get an electronic copy of any tv inspection from your provider.

How Do I Fix the Problem Myself?

Unclogging a Line

A variety of tools and products can be found at home improvement stores. Portable snaking equipment is available at many rental companies. You'll need to measure the distance between your side sewer and the main line to determine what size to rent.

Repairing or Replacing a Broken or Leaky Side Sewer Line

You may work on your own private sewer system, but you must get a permit from the City Community Development Department so the work can be inspected to ensure it meets City standards. Permits are available at https://www.cityofenumclaw.net/186/Building-Department or by emailing, permits@ci.enumclaw.wa.us. In person service is available, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 1309 Myrtle Ave, Enumclaw WA, 98022, but to ensure staff availability call to make an appointment. For more information about permit requirements or how to apply call 360-825-3593.

How Do I Pay for Side Sewer Repairs?

Low interest loans are available for those who qualify through the King County Housing Repair Program. https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/housing/services/housing-repair.aspx.  The City also has a side sewer loan program.  Information about the City program can be obtained by calling 360-825-3593.

What If I Have a Septic Tank?

Septic systems in the City are under the jurisdiction of King County Health Department. To find out how King County might be able to help go to https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/environmental-health/piping/onsite-sewage-systems.aspx

Can I Connect to the City Sewer System?

Most property owners in the city are already connected to the City sewer system. If, however, you are one of the property owners still connected to a septic system, you may check your property's sewer availability.  If your building lies within 200 feet of the public sewer line, you are considered to have sewer available to you.

If your question isn't answered here, contact us for more information at 360-825-3593.