How Big Are Sewer Mains?

We all have them, running below our homes, performing their duties without fanfare. Sewer mains don’t command our attention until there’s a problem.

Here’s a brief overview of what they are, how big they are, and why you should care.

What is a Sewer Main?

In a sewage system, the main is the principal pipe that carries away liquid and solid waste. In modern-day plumbing, each house or building is connected to a sewage system, with both an input and an output. The water main delivers clean, fresh water to the home, and the sewer main carries the waste back out to the sewer system. Both are pretty important and are easy to forget about until there’s a problem, such as a water main break or a clog.

How Big is a Typical Sewer Main?

As far as size, the minimum is generally 8 inches in diameter, with larger cities having sewer mains as large as 3 to 5 feet in diameter. Residential homes and buildings are connected to this main pipe with smaller sewer lines that usually slope down toward the sewer main. Most sewer lines are between 4 to 6 inches in diameter, likely much smaller than you may have thought. Normal day-to-day usage shouldn’t pose any problems, but it’s easy to see how quickly these pipes could become clogged when the wrong things go down them.

What Not to Do

Regular toilet paper is engineered to break down quickly in water, making it easy to flush away with normal sewage waste. Other items should not be flushed under any circumstances, such as paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and diapers. What you may not know is that even facial tissues should not be put in the toilet, as they do not break down quickly in water. Another huge culprit of sewage mains clogging is flushable wipes. Although touted by the manufacturers as safe for flushing, you’re taking a big risk by putting them into your sewage system. In New York City, enormous clogs made of flushable wipes, cooking fats, and other garbage have been dubbed “Fatbergs.” Yes, they are as disgusting as they sound. Last year they cost the city nearly $20 million in removal costs, all because the wrong things are being put down the drain. They even launched a campaign to educate New Yorkers on the only four things you should put down the drain, the Four P’s: pee, poop, puke, and (toilet) paper.

Why You Should Care

At this point, you might be thinking that this is a problem that doesn’t affect you, but you couldn’t be more wrong. While the city you live in runs and maintains the main sewer line, the homeowner is responsible for all the plumbing running under their house and yard, right up to the property line. This means that if a sewage clog happens in these smaller pipes, the homeowner must repair it. When a clog causes the sewer to back up and wastewater to drain into your home, it’s on you to solve the problem. Besides being a disgusting, smelly mess, this can cause serious health concerns and damage to the home.

Know When to Call Quick Quality Plumbing for Help

If you’ve got a clog, don’t wait for things to get worse. Call a professional plumber to help clear out your sewer mains and restore them to optimal function. Serving all of Utah County, including Lehi, Orem, and Provo, our plumbing technicians at Quick Quality Plumbing are available 24/7 and ready to help get you out of a bind. Contact us today to get your plumbing back into tip-top shape!


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