Responding to Customers

Utilities

URGENT ISSUES

Sewage is backing up into my basement, who should I call or what should I do?
During normal business hours contact the City of Clemson Utilities Department at (864) 653-2046 or after hours contact the Clemson Police Department at (864) 624-2000. The Police Dispatcher will contact our Utilities on-call personnel. We will promptly examine the "City" sewer line to determine whether the problem is ours or yours, at no charge. If the blockage is in the city line, we will use whatever means necessary to open it and restore flow. If the blockage is in your house lateral we will advise that you call a professional plumber.

Who should I call if my sanitary sewer backs up AFTER normal working hours?
Call the City of Clemson Police Department at (864) 624-2000. The Police Dispatcher will contact the Utilities on-call personnel. Once on site, we will determine whether the problem lies with the City or with your lateral line.

If I have a sewer problem, who do I call?
You should first call us, the City of Clemson Utilities Department at (864) 653-2046. We can then determine what your issue is and if we can be of any help in resolving the problem.

Who is responsible for cleanup as a result of a sewer backup?
The property owner is responsible for cleanup so you will need to contact your insurance carrier. If a problem with a City main was the possible cause of the backup we will contact our insurance carrier to make a determination of liability.

NON-URGENT ISSUES
I have slow drainage through my toilets, showers, and sinks. What can I do about it?
Slow drainage is usually caused by clogs in your plumbing and you’ll need to call a plumber, or try cleaning the drain.

In a small percentage of cases, there may be an obstruction in the city sewer line. Call the City of Clemson Utilities Department at (864) 653-2046 and we will check out the main lines.

It smells like “sewer gas” in my basement -- what should I do?
The most common cause of “sewer gas” (hydrogen sulfide) odor in basements is due to improperly maintained floor drains or dry traps on sinks. Floor drains are designed to “trap” the hydrogen sulfide gases in the sewer and keep them from your home.

How to Remedy the Problem:

  • Locate all of the floor drains.
  • Pour water in each floor drain on a regular basis. Never let the floor drain dry out.
  • Make sure that all plumbing fixtures are used at least periodically in order to keep water in the traps.
  • Also, check the stack vents on your roof to ensure that they are not blocked by leaves, etc.

What causes a sanitary sewer to backup?
Most sewer backups occur when the lines get clogged with debris. However, backups can occur for other reasons. The condition of the sanitary sewer system could be poor, natural conditions such as the ground moving or a lot of rain. When people misuse or vandalize the system problems can occur.

What causes a sewer stoppage?
Sewer stoppages can occur when the City sewer line becomes obstructed and your home is lower than the manhole in the street. This will eventually cause a residential back-up, which usually occurs with water/sewage coming up through a floor drain or lowest drain in a home. . The same symptoms will occur when the obstruction is located in the residential lateral.

To prevent a sewer backup in the house a backwater valve or “pop-off sewer clean out” needs to be installed outside your home. By the Building Code you are required to have a backflow preventer if you house floor level is not at least 18 inches above the level of the top of the upstream manhole that serves your home.