Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Debris and Grease

Debris can build up in a side sewer if there are structural defects or debris in the pipe that block the flow of the sewer. Toilet paper is the only paper product that should enter your side sewer. Examples of items that should not be flushed are baby wipes, “flushable” wipes, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products.

Grease can cause a side sewer to drain very slowly or cause a complete blockage of the side sewer. Even very hot grease cools quickly once it reaches an underground pipe and sticks to the walls of the side sewer. To avoid accumulating grease in your side sewer, compost all food waste in your food and compost bin instead of using the garbage disposal. Pour all fats, oils and grease into a covered disposable container and dispose of it in the garbage. For more information on how to properly dispose of grease, visit the fats, oil and grease program page.

Recommendation

No repair

debrisMinorSideSewer

Minor Debris/grease.

Reduces pipe’s capacity by less than 25%.

Routine cleaning

debrisModerateSideSewer

Moderate Debris/grease

Reduces pipe’s capacity by 25 to 50%.

Routine cleaning; structural repair if a defect is contributing.

Routine cleaning

debrisSevereSideSewer

Severe Debris/grease.

Reduces pipe’s capacity to less than 50%.

Routine cleaning; structural repair if a defect is contributing.