Sewer Main Flushing Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Performed yearly for 3-4 weeks, typically in October.

Why are you cleaning and inspecting the sewers?

The cleaning and inspection program keeps the sewer system operating efficiently by:

  • helping prevent blockages and backups
  • removing built-up debris, such as tree roots, grease, grit and sand
  • determining the condition of the sewer so we can repair or replace as necessary

How do you clean the sewers?

We use a high-pressure nozzle to flush water down the sewer. The dirt and debris are sucked up through a manhole by a large vacuum truck.

Do I need to do anything before you clean/inspect the sewers on my street?

Yes. Occasionally during cleaning and inspection, air pressure in the sewer line can cause water to splash out through toilets, sinks and drains. Please note: the water which may splash out is not from the sewer main but from the toilet bowl or the plumbing P-trap under your sink. Take the following precautions to prevent water damage in your home:

  • Close the lids on all toilet bowls when not in use.
  • Insert drain plugs in all sinks and bathtubs when not in use.
  • Remove all floor mats in bathrooms.
  • Place an old towel around the base of toilets.
  • If you have a float plug in your floor drain or a Backwater valve installed in your house, ensure that it is free of debris and operating properly.
  • Wrap the cover of your basement floor drains with thick plastic (i.e., a freezer bag). Place something heavy over the floor drains to keep the plastic-covered floor drain covers in place.

Will I notice anything after you have cleaned/inspected the sewers on my street?

  • Sometimes the sewer cleaning and inspection leaves an odour in the home. If so, run some water down the sink and bathtub drains, flush the toilets, pour a pail of water into each basement floor drain, and open the windows. After a short time, the odour should disappear.

Can I use the toilets and my water while you are cleaning and inspecting the sewer on my block?

  • Yes, however, be careful as air pressure in the sewer during the cleaning and inspection can sometimes cause water to splash out through toilets, sinks and drains. Remember to close the lids on all toilet bowls when not in use, and insert drain plugs in all sinks and bathtubs when not in use.

There are steps you can take to protect your home against basement flooding, including:

  • Install a backwater valve and sump pit drainage system
  • Check and maintain your backwater valve and sump pit drainage system regularly
  • Improve drainage around your house

For any comments, questions or concerns related to the Sewer Main Cleaning Program, please contact the Town’s Works Department via:

Phone: (506) 738-6400 (Option 3 for after-hours urgent matters)
Email: administration@towngbw.ca
In-person: 
609 River Valley Drive, Monday to Friday (excluding holidays), 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.