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Broken Cap A broken cleanout cap allows a direct inflow of rainwater and leaves into the sanitary sewer system.

Make sure your roof drains, sump pumps, and other stormwater inlets are NOT connected to the sanitary sewer system. Consider routing them to a planted area of your yard.

Rainwater can also be harvested to use for outdoor watering. Here are instructions for the construction of a safe and cost-effective rain barrel. Storing rainwater helps reduce Inflow and Infiltration by reducing direct inflow into the sanitary sewer system. It also reduces ground saturation during heavy runoff events, which also reduces the amount of water available to seep into your basement. Rain barrels give you a free source of water for lawns and gardens during dry weather, which will reduce your overall water bill. They also help prevent soil erosion and related pollution from getting into our streams.

Replace loose, broken, or missing cleanout caps. Cleanout caps are the first line of defense against inflow and debris that can cause sewer backups. A well-fitted cap also prevents the cleanout from becoming a trip hazard.

Check your pipes for roots. Once roots enter a sewer pipe, they thrive on nutrient-rich water. As roots grow, they widen the cracks in the pipe, as well as create blockages. Never plant a tree or woody shrub near a sanitary sewer pipe or storm drain.

If you see or suspect a sanitary sewer problem, email the City of Salem Water Department, call 540-375-3029, or use the Report a Problem form.

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