Sewer Backups

  • What not to flush or pour down the drain 

    • Wipes of any kind. Baby wipes, hand wipes, cleaning wipes, etc. Wipes may say “disposable or flushable,” but they don’t dissolve and can clog the sewer system. 
    • Fats, oils and grease
    • Medication
    • Any other objects and toxic chemicals. 

    Sewer back-up help

    Contact the City if you experience a sewer back-up in your home from toilets, sinks or floor drains.

    • Call 503-618-2626 during business hours
    • Call 503-661-3906 during evenings, weekends or holidays 

    The City will respond immediately to protect public health and provide limited preliminary clean-up 

    • Information will be provided related to the cause of the back-up and clean-up 
    • Gresham utility customers are responsible for sewer back-ups caused in the private sewer lines
    • If the blockage is within the public sewer system, the City will cover the clean-up  

    Take action

    • Place rags over the back-up to stop the flow
    • Secure the rags in place with a sandbag, kitty litter, etc. 
    • Wash hands and all body parts with soap and water that came into contact with sewage 
    • Evacuate all people and pets.  Any contact with untreated sewage is potentially harmful
    • Call your insurance agent to determine if your losses may be covered 
    • Arrange for cleanup 
    • Assess damage. Itemize and document damage to property, structures and belongings

    Sewer back-up causes 

    • Pipe failure.
    • Blockages (from grease, rocks, roots, toys and other foreign objects ).
    • Excessive flows that exceed system capacity (typically from excessive rainfall).
    • Damage by contractors.
    • Power or mechanical failures at sewer pump stations.
    • Settlement or movement of the soil next to a pipe

      Backwater valve protection 

      A backwater valve attaches to the sewer discharge pipe to prevent sewer from flowing back into a building or onto the property. 

      • These valves help reverse sewage flow.
      • Instead of sewage flowing back into your house, the valve closes if backwater is detected.
      • Properties at a lower elevation than the nearest manhole in the street are typically at greater risk for sewage backups, if a backwater valve is not installed. 

      Oregon State Plumbing Code requires installing a backwater valve at applicable properties.    

      Sewer backup brochure

      Contact us 

      For more information contact Jeff Loftin at 503-618-2669.