City of Madison

City of Madison Engineering | Photo Credit: Archie Nicolette

Public Sanitary Sewer vs. Private Sanitary Sewer responsibility

The Public Sanitary Sewer System is made of nearly 760 miles of gravity pipe connected by 20,000 sanitary access structures and is supported by 29 pumping stations.  The City of Madison Engineering Division is responsible for operating and maintaining this system to safely convey 23.6 million gallons of raw sewage per day from Madison homes and businesses to the Nine Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant. Maintaining this system in good operating conditions is essential to the health of our citizens and environment. 

Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the private sanitary sewer service line. The private sewer service extends from within the home to the point where it connects to the public sanitary sewer main. 

Homeowner Sewer Pipe Responsibility

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Preventative Maintenance

Homeowners can do easy things every day to take care of the private pipes they are responsible for, and backups can be avoided.

  • Do not plant trees and/or shrubs over private building sewer pipe. The roots of trees, particularly Silver Maple and Willow trees, will seek out the joints of the sanitary sewer and clog the pipe.
  • Do not put large amounts of vegetable waste, like pea pods and tomato skins through the garbage disposal at one time.
  • Do not dump large amounts of grease and paint. If a grease trap is required, clean the trap regularly.
  • Keep lint traps in the sinks.

Unplugging or cleaning sediment from your building sewer every 1-3 years is not unusual. However, if a homeowner has to have the building sewer cleaned more often than annually, he or she should contact the City of Engineering Division to find out if a bigger problem is causing the blockages.