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City of Sacramento Progressing Through Sewer Cleanout Plan


This root ball was pulled out of a City of Sacramento sewer line in November 2012.


The City of Sacramento’s Wastewater Division will ask the City Council tonight to approve payment for contractors to test root-killing chemicals on 250 miles of city sewer line.

Rob Jack with the Wastewater Division says the testing is part of the city’s five-year plan to eliminate sewage backups:

"‘We’re talking fiber roots that get down into the pipe which is –the pipe’s are six-to-eight-to-ten-to twelve feet deep that get into the old cracks in the pipe because the city’s sewer system-certain areas of town are up to 100 years old.”

The five-year plan was started after the city was sued over the high number of backups.

Jack says the resulting court order initially hurt the pride of the people in the wastewater division, but they now see it has resulted in positive changes.  This coming fiscal year, the city will spend $1.7 million on video cameras, pipe-clearing devices, and staff to operate both:  

"To eliminate the root from being inside the pipe, we’re developing these programs to get rid of the root which keeps the grease from hanging on the root, which keeps the sewage in the pipe and not coming out of the ground.”

Jack says the number of sewage backups per year has been reduced by about half to 60 per 100 miles. 

Jack says the long-term goal is fewer than five backups per 100 miles of pipe.  Two years ago, there was an average of more than one backup for per mile.


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