Preventing Sanitary Sewer Backups & Overflows

Remember, if you experience a sewage stoppage, sewer backup, blockage or overflow, remember to contact Spotsylvania County Utilities first. Sewage stoppages, sewer backups, and other sewer emergencies can be time-consuming, costly and inconvenient. You can help prevent sewage stoppages, sewer backups and other sewer emergencies in your home or business by being careful about what you place in your sewer system. For other types of helpful information, please visit the Infiltration and Inflow page.

What Not to Put in the System

Do not put the following items into your system:

  • Anti-freeze
  • Diapers
  • Feminine products
  • Food oils and food debris
  • Grease
  • Items that will not dissolve
  • Non-food oils and chemicals
  • Paint
  • Paper towels
  • Solvents
  • Wipes (diaper, facial cleansing, home or counter, etc.)

Helpful Hints

  • Use a sink screen to catch debris from dishes and pans so that it does not enter your plumbing system.
  • Use a drain screen to catch hair so that it does not go into your shower or tub drain.
  • Keep roots from trees and shrubbery clear of your lines.  
  • Correct illegal plumbing connections. Do not connect French drains, sump pumps, downspouts and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal to do so, and debris and silt will clog your line. 
  • Install a backwater prevention valve if your home or business does not have one. Spotsylvania County requires backwater prevention valve installation on all new construction that has a basement. However, there are homes and businesses in the area that do not have this device due to the age of the structure. 
    • If your home or business does not have a backwater prevention valve, it is highly recommended that this device is installed. A backwater prevention valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line (and sometimes into a drain line) in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows.