Preventing Sanitary Sewer Backups & Overflows

Remember, if you experience a sewage stoppage, sewer backup, blockage, or overflow, remember to contact Spotsylvania County Utilities first. Sewage stoppages, sewer backups, and other sewer emergencies can be time-consuming, costly, and inconvenient. You can help prevent sewage stoppages, sewer backups, and other sewer emergencies in your home or business by being careful about what you place in your sewer system. For other types of helpful information, please visit the Infiltration and Inflow page and the Fats, Oils & Grease page.

What Not to Put in the System

We urge our citizens to be careful what you flush down your toilets and drains. These items are particularly harmful:  

  • Flushable Wipes 
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes  
  • Q-Tips 
  • Cotton Balls
  • Dental Floss
  • Hair
  • Paper Towels 
  • Napkins
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Contraceptives & Wrappers
  • Kitty Litter
  • Cigarette Butts
  • Medication
  • Gum
  • Food oils & food debris
  • Grease
  • Non-food oils & chemicals
  • Paint
  • Solvents
  • Anti-freeze
  • Any items that will not dissolve




do-not-flush-sign

Helpful Hints

  • Use a sink screen to catch debris from dishes and pans so that it does not enter your plumbing system.
  • Use a drain screen to catch hair so that it does not go into your shower or tub drain.
  • Keep roots from trees and shrubbery clear of your lines.  
  • Correct illegal plumbing connections. Do not connect French drains, sump pumps, downspouts, and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal to do so, and debris and silt will clog your line. 
  • Install a backwater prevention valve if your home or business does not have one. Spotsylvania County requires backwater prevention valve installation on all new construction that has a basement. However, there are homes and businesses in the area that do not have this device due to the age of the structure. 
    • If your home or business does not have a backwater prevention valve, it is highly recommended that this device is installed. A backwater prevention valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line (and sometimes into a drain line) in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows.