Sanitary Sewer Maintenance

Common Problems

From time to time residents may experience sanitary sewer back-ups due to typical problems associated with the operation of a sewer system. Potential problems include:

  • Clogs or build-up in the line.
  • Foreign objects being introduced into the sewer.
  • Illegal connections.
  • Tree roots.

City staff makes reasonable attempts to anticipate problem areas and monitor them to minimize private property damage and inconvenience to citizens. When obstructions are discovered, City staff will make every reasonable attempt to identify and clear them as quickly as possible. 

Minimizing Overflow

  • Don’t contaminate the system. Sanitary sewer systems are designed to carry human waste and waste water to treatment facilities. Foreign objects and substances intentionally introduced into the sewer have damaging affects. 
    • Kitchen grease accumulates and causes blockages, and should never be poured down the drain.
    • The same is true for motor oil, other automotive fluids, herbicides, pesticides, paint and other household chemicals.
    • Do not flush diapers, sanitary napkins, paper towels, shop rags, flushable wipes (they're really not flushable) or anything else the sewer system is not designed to handle. These types of items regularly clog sewers in urban areas, and often cause sewer back-ups not just for the offending party, but also in neighboring homes.
  • Report illegal connections. Gutters and other storm water management systems should never be routed to a sanitary sewer. If you become aware of such a connection, immediately sever the connection and/or report the connection to the City of Liberty Utilities Maintenance Division at 816.439.4763.
  • Install a backflow preventer. A backflow preventer is a one-way valve device designed to prevent sanitary sewer overflows. If you have a backflow preventer installed on your sewer line, you must be aware that it is designed to close when the sewer is flowing beyond its capacity, as can occasionally occur during a heavy rainfall. 
    • If you use your internal drains while the backflow valve is closed, you can create a flooding situation in your own home. Do not use your laundry machine, dishwasher, shower or bath; and minimize the use of sinks and toilets.
    • You must also be aware of what your backflow preventer’s maintenance requirements are, to ensure that it continues to function properly. As with any privately owned system, it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that these components are maintained and functioning properly.

What to Do When There is an Overflow

Contact the City of Liberty Utilities Maintenance Division at 816.439.4763. If the problem occurs outside of normal working hours, which are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., please contact the Liberty Police Department at 816.439.4701. You can expect the maintenance crew to respond in a timely manner. Day, time and workload affect response capability. 

  • If it is determined that there is no problem in the City sewer main, you may choose to have your lateral line checked by a plumber. The City will not choose, recommend or contact a plumber for you.
  • You have a responsibility to mitigate your damages as soon as possible. For insurance purposes, it is advisable to document any damage and take photographs prior to beginning clean-up. If unable, you should not wait to begin sanitizing your home.
  • Due to the nature of a sewer system, it is not always reasonable or in the community’s best interest for the City to reimburse property owners in the event they experience damage from a sewer back-up. Every incident must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to determine if the City has any liability for the damage and responsibility to reimburse. Citizens are highly encouraged to maintain an insurance policy that covers instances of sanitary sewer overflow or back-up.
  • If you do decide to request reimbursement from the City for damages incurred, contact City Hall during normal working hours at 816.439.4441 and ask for Human Resources/Loss Control. All requests for reimbursement will be filed with the City’s third-party insurance carrier. The City considers all determinations made by the insurance carrier to be final.