Wastewater back-ups may result from a blockage in either a public sewer or the private sewer service line or "lateral" between a home or business and a public sewer.
To help prevent blockages and wastewater back-ups (and overflows from OWASA's sewers), do not put fat, oil, grease, trash or debris down the drain and do not plant trees or shrubs near a sewer line.
You can recycle used cooking oil at Orange County's Household Hazardous Waste program at 1514 Eubanks Road on the north side of Chapel Hill. Fat and solidified grease can be put in a sealed container for disposal with household refuse taken to the landfill.
For information about what an easement is, the need to keep easements clear for safe access and to keep roots from growing into and blocking sewers, and requesting approval of a planting plant in the outer part of an OWASA sewer easement, please click here.
OWASA periodically cleans and inspects its sewers, mows and clears sewer easements and does other work to minimize the potential for sewer blockages. The volume of overflows from our sewers is a fraction of one percent of the wastewater we collect and treat.
Over the years, we have become aware of situations where a property owner had property damage in a bathroom or basement due to a wastewater back-up and then learned that his or her insurance did not cover the damage.
Since OWASA is not legally responsible for damages resulting from sewer overflows caused by events beyond its control, you may wish to check with your insurance agent to find out whether your policy covers this type of damage. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider adding this coverage. The cost varies but is generally inexpensive.