When was the Last Time You Looked at Your Sewer Pipe?

Here is a handy tip to assist in avoiding costly emergency sewer calls.

The sewer pipe(s) that leave your house and flushes everything into the sewer main can be anywhere from four-feet to ten-feet under ground depending on if you have a basement or your house is built on a slab. Some sewer pipes are installed deeper than that. These sewer pipes are generally referred to as ‘sewer lateral(s)’.

Many home /business owners would not even know how to inspect their sewer pipe(s) unless they had a blockage or backup and called a plumber. Every property, by City Ordinance has what is called a test ‘TEE and RISER’, also called an ‘Inspection Cleanout’ for their sanitary and storm sewers. Below is a drawing of a typical riser with a test tee.


Why are cleanouts necessary? T he purpose of this test tee and riser is for inspection and maintenance and is placed into a sewer line lateral that provides an opening at ground level. This cleanout riser is typically capped 6” to 12” below grade however we recommend it to be at grade so it can easily be located. It is just outside of the easement or roadway right-of-way line. If you have a sidewalk on your property, the back side of the sidewalk is typically the end of the right - of - way. If there is no sidewalk, the average roadway right-of-way is 30’ from the center-line of the road onto your property. Your North Royalton Wastewater Department may have the original measurements to assist in locating your sanitary sewer riser pipe.

Below is a typical riser for both storm and sanitary service laterals.


Maintenance and ownership of the lateral sewer line(s) from the house /building connection to the main sewer is the responsibility of the property owner. If the main sewer is located on the opposite side of the roadway, the City takes responsibility for the sewer lateral under the road.

Take the time to expose this cleanout riser, remove the cap and shine a flashlight in the pipe after you have flushed. This is a simple maintenance practice that home/business owners can routinely do to avoid an expensive plumber’s Emergency service call. If you see that the flow in this pipe is slow or not flowing at all, you can call a contractor/plumber to investigate now rather than on an emergency service call basis. Sometimes a slow drain is caused by ‘grease’ build-up or even tree root infestation. Please remember to replace the riser’s cap. This eliminates ground water and debris from entering into your sanitary lateral and causing blockages and unnecessary flow to our system. You can call the Wastewater Department at 440-237-5010 and per City Ordinances if we can locate your sanitary riser pipe we will open the cap and if necessary jet from the Tee to the main sanitary sewer. We will not jet towards your home/business or enter home/business and jet from inside out. The home/business owner doing a simple look at the flow in these pipes can prevent a messy backup and expensive cleanup.