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Prevent Blocked Drains

Most homeowners have experienced a temporary blockage or sluggish drains in their plumbing. Minor blockages often can be cleared with a plunger.  

Cooking grease, hair, food particles, toilet paper and roots often cause sluggish drains or line blockages. If they happen near the drain opening or toilet bowl, a plunger may be effective in clearing them.  However, if the problem is some distance into a drain line, it may require a plumber to locate and resolve. 

Eliminate Water

If you have a blocked or stubborn drain, the first thing you want to do is reduce or eliminate the water you put in the lines to minimize the amount of damage you may do. Obviously, if you keep flushing a slow-moving toilet, it will overflow the bowl, damaging your floor.  

Washing machines can create one of the biggest problems when your drains are running slowly. Washers use 15 to 20 gallons a load.  This water could back up into toilets or showers, possibly causing overflow damage.  It is relatively easy to find out if the blockage is in the house drains or in the sewer lines.

Check Your Cleanout

Many homes have two cleanouts (click link for illustration). One is near the foundation of the house and the second is at or near the property line. 

First, check the cleanout next to the house to see if it has water in it. If it contains no water, then you know the blockage is somewhere in the house plumbing.  If there is water standing in the cleanout, the blockage is most likely in the line from the house to the main sewer line.

If there is a cleanout near your property line and you find water standing in it, the problem is likely in the City sewer line. Under these circumstances you should discontinue using your facilities and contact the Wastewater Department, Collection Division at 813-259-1693.

If there is no cleanout at the property line and water is standing in a cleanout on your property, you should also contact the Wastewater Collection Division.

Please Note:  The Wastewater Collection Division is not permitted to do any work on private property; therefore, the homeowner or a plumber must resolve any problem between the right-of-way and the house.