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Sewer Backups

  • 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.


    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. 
    • Paper towels are thick and absorbent and can lead to clogs.
    • Hair can bind things together and create clogs.
    • Tampons and sanitary pads expand and absorb liquid and can build up over time to create clogs.
    • Fats, oils and grease.
    • Medication.
    • Any other objects and toxic chemicals.

    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.