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Sewer Frequently Asked Questions

Q. My sewer is backed up. Who should I call?
A. Please call the Bureau of Utilities between 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 410-887-7415. Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. at 410-887-5210.

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Q. How do I find out if sewer is available to my property? How can I get connected?
A
. To find out about sewer availability, call Metropolitan District Financing and Petitions at 410-887-2423. There are several ways to get public sewer:

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Q. Who cleans and repairs the sewer system?
A. The County will clean from the first accessible cleanout that is within 50 feet of the property line out to the County main sewer line. The County will make repairs as needed, only to the portion of the house connection that is in the public right-of-way. Anything inside the property boundary is the property owner's responsibility. Call the Emergency Sewer Service of the Bureau of Utilities at 410-887-7415 for service.

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Q. What should I do if my sewer is blocked and how can I prevent it?
A. Stop using any water in the house, such as sinks, showers, washing machines and dishwashers. If water cannot get through your house connection lateral line to the main sewer line in the street, it will back up into your house. To prevent this, keep grease fats and oils out of the sewer system. Grease coats the inside of the sewer lines in your home and clogs the pipes in your line and the sewer line in the street. Find out more about the Fats, Oil and Grease(FOG) program.

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Q. How does the County access my sewer line to clean it?
A. The County uses a standpipe or cleanout pipe in your yard, cleaning from that pipe to the main, going with the flow of water. It did not become a building code requirement to have this pipe until the mid-1970s. If you do not have an outside cleanout, the County cannot clean your line.

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Q. My septic system is failing. Who should I call?
A
. If your septic system is failing you should contact the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) at 410-887-7136.

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Q. How do I get information on an ongoing sewer project?
A. Please call the Sewer Design section of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction at 410-887-3799.

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Q. I need to know if a sewer is private or public. Who should I call?
A.
Please call Sewer Design
at 410-887-3799.

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Q. Who is responsible for any repairs to the grinder pump, and how will a homeowner know if there is a problem?
A. The Bureau of Utilities will maintain the grinder pumps that are part of a Baltimore County constructed project. Each grinder pump has an audio-visual alarm mounted onto the house. If a failure occurs, the homeowner can turn off the audio alarm but not the visual alarm. The homeowner can call the Bureau of Utilities at 410-887-5210, 24 hours a day, to report the failure. County personnel would repair and/or replace the grinder pump or electrical components and reset the alarm.

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Q. Why does a business need a permit to discharge wastewater into the sewer system, and who monitors it?
A. The Wastewater Discharge Permit  (PDF) is part of the system designed to protect the sanitary sewer system (including both collection and treatment facilities) and to protect the waters receiving the treated wastewater. The Engineering and Regulation Division of the Bureau of Utilities issues these permits. They also monitor and determine compliance with the permit conditions.

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Revised January 10, 2014

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