Sewer blockages can occur in either the private sewer service or the City sewer main. The first sign of a blockage generally shows up in the lowest drains within the structure (i.e., basement, or first floor if no basement). At the first sign of a problem, please call the Wastewater Division at 508-532-6060. A technician will be sent out to the property to check the City’s sewer main for signs of blockage. Our technicians will advise you if follow-up action is needed by the City or the property owner. Please Note: The City does not make repairs to private property, only City-owned infrastructure.
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The Department of Public Works maintains a list of all businesses that carry a Drainlayer’s License in the City of Framingham. Reference information about how to become a Licensed Drainlayer here.
You should call the Wastewater Department immediately to report any visible signs of sewerage anywhere or any signs of an impending clog (i.e., drains bubbling, drain gurgling sounds, or bad sewer odors.
In cases where there are public health and safety concerns (e.g., a sewerage backup from the public sewer or private service line), the appropriate City jurisdiction will take enforcement action to ensure the problems are attended to. When a sewer blockage occurs, it often cannot be determined whether the clog is in the sewer's main or private sewer service until a professional inspection. If you experience a sewerage backup onto your property, we recommend calling the Wastewater Division immediately at 508-532-6060. We will send a technician to respond to reports of sewerage backups and signs of impending clogs to check the sewer main and take any measures necessary to resolve the issue promptly. If it is determined that the main is operating properly, and the problem lies in the private service, our technician will inform the property owner of their responsibility to resolve the issue.
The property owner is responsible for the entire length of a sewer service from the building to the sewer main. Any manholes that are along this private service are considered part of that private sewer service and must be maintained by the property owner as well. If you are in need of sewer line cleaning, please conduct an internet search for Plumbing-Drain & Waste Line Cleaning for local providers of this service. If you are in need of a sewer repair or replacement, please the list of Licensed Drainlayers here.
To avoid experiencing sewer blockages in your private service and interior plumbing, be sure to use the toilets and drains properly. Here are some common mistakes:
1. (Not so) flushable products – Only dispose of toilet tissue in your toilet. Although “flushable” wipes and some feminine hygiene products are marketed as “flushable,” these products do not break down in the sewer. These products are responsible for blockages of interior plumbing, sewer services, mains, and pumps. Avoid using the toilet as a wastebasket.
2. Grease, oils, and fats – Avoid pouring grease, cooking oil, or other fat-containing liquids down your drains, as these are some of the leading causes of drain clogging. If grease is accidentally poured down your drains, run hot water for a few minutes to flush the lines and prevent it from hardening in the interior plumbing or sewer service. Although this is not a guaranteed solution, it may help prevent buildup. Instead, allow grease, oils, and other fats to cool in the pan or a heat-resistant container, then wipe them into the wastebasket with a disposable cloth like a paper napkin or paper towel. Commercial properties in the food industry should also have grease traps installed which should be cleaned regularly to prevent grease from entering the City’s sewer mains.
3. Hair - Hair is a very common cause of blockages in interior plumbing and private sewer services. Be sure to cover bath and shower drains with a strainer or removable hair catcher and clean and dispose of hair frequently.
4. Check valves - Blockages in the City's sewer main can affect your property when drains are located below the sewer pipe level. In this case, or if you’ve experienced previous backups from the City sewer, it is recommended to have a check valve installed on your property. This device prevents sewage from backing up into any fixtures below the level of the sewer main.
Only flush the 3 P’s, Pee, Poop, and Paper! Even some products that promote themselves as being “flushable” may not be and can cause blockages.
It is illegal to pour any hazardous chemicals into the sewer system. Proper disposal of such chemicals should be dealt with according to federal, state, and local laws. While not illegal, it is not recommended to put any of the following down the drain: grease, oils, and fats; pre-moistened wipes; bandages or dressings; cotton balls or swabs; catheters; wrappers; feminine hygiene products; facial tissues; test strips; topical solutions; medications or supplements; cleaners or disinfectants; cigarette butts; dental floss; diapers; hair; paper towels; hypodermic needles; or dust, dirt or lint.
No. It is not permitted to connect any stormwater or rainwater drainage system to the sewer system. Drainage system piping that connects to the sewer system is an illicit connection that should be disconnected and directed elsewhere by a licensed plumber. Directing rainwater, stormwater and snowmelt into the sewer can result in sewage backups onto private property or overflow of the City’s sewer. This also applies to directing flood waters into sewer manholes. If you believe you have an illicit drainage line connected to the sewer system, please contact the Wastewater Division at 508-532-6060.
Please report any instance of noise or damage to the Wastewater Division at 508-532-6060. The City and other private utilities own various infrastructure throughout the City, so it can be challenging to determine which ones are associated with each utility. We encourage our customers to report any issues to the Department of Public Works, Water, Wastewater, or Highway Divisions, and public works personnel will either forward the information to the correct division within the DPW or direct you to contact the private utility owner. Here are a few descriptions of common road fixtures owned by the City:
1. Sewer manhole cover – Generally solid, round covers, approximately 26” in diameter. For issues with sewer manholes and covers, please contact the Wastewater Division at 508-532-6060.
2. Water gate valve cover – Smaller solid round or square covers, generally 4”-10” in diameter. For issues with water gate valves and covers, please contact the Water Division at 508-532-6050.
3. Catch basins – Open grated covers that allow water rain and snowmelt to drain from ground surfaces, seen primarily on the streets and along sidewalks. For issues with catch basins and storm drains please contact the Highway Division at 508-532-6030.
No. It is not permitted for anyone other than City personnel to lift or tamper with a manhole cover for any reason. Open manholes left unattended could present a severe danger to the public. If you see a missing manhole cover please immediately contact the Wastewater Division at 508-532-6060.