Sewer Backups and Blockages

If you have a backup or blockage, Contact a Licensed Plumber first, then contact the city. 

Monday-Friday 8am-5pm 903-856-3621
Weekends/ After 5pm / Holidays 903-856-3330

Things to Remember

  • Initially call a license plumber when you have a sewer backup or blockage, so they can investigate your sewer issue. 
  • Check your cleanouts. This may help show where the blockage is. 
  • If your plumber says the sewer issue is on the city, the plumber will need to be onsite when the city arrives to identify where the sewer issue is located. 
  • If a plumber films your line, call the City to have a City Representative there on site to watch the filming live, or have the plumber record the footage and burn it to a DVD for further review.
  • Have the plumber mark the spot where they first encounter the blockage. 


Common Reasons For Sewer Backups and Blockages

Cause: Fats, Oils or Grease put into sinks

Information and Prevention: 

  • Dispose of fats, oils, and grease in the garbage and avoid using the garbage disposal to put foods down the drain.
  • Vegetables, meat scraps, butter, cooking oils, and many other foods deposit grease and solids that can build up in pipes eventually creating blockages
  • The fats, oils and grease harden when they go down the drain and clog pipes.
  • Let melted oils used for cooking solidify in a container before placing them in the garbage.


Cause: Roots

Information and Prevention: 

  • tree rootsKnow where your service line is located and avoid planting trees and shrubs near it.  Roots can creep into the sewer pipe joints and eventually cause a blockage.
  • The best way to remove roots is to call a professional sewer cleaning service.


Cause: Cracked or Collapsed Pipe

Information and Prevention:

broken pipe

  • The service pipe may need to be replaced if the pipe is cracked or collapsed.
  • Changes in weather affect the ground greatly. Going from season to season, drought to wet, or even hot to cold can cause the ground to shift causing cracks and breakages in service lines.


We are responsible for our mains and taps on the main.

  • On the single service lateral line the City is responsible for the main and tap only. The customer is responsible for installing a common clean out within five feet of the sewer connection and/or within the public right of way. The City is responsible for maintaining that common cleanout pipe and cap if there is one installed. The property owner is responsible for the connection to that wye. If the single service line extends into and/or across the street, the City is responsible for the line under the street extending from the main to the edge of pavement or front of curb within 5 feet of the public right of way. When the City responds to a stoppage and the common clean out within 5 feet of the public right way is not backup up, the City will only do a preliminary investigation and will not unclog, clear or jet the line. If the customer does not have a common clean out within 5 feet of the public right of way, then the customer must install one in order for the city to unclog, clear or jet the line if it is backup up.  
  • City crews will not respond to clear stoppages after contractors have accepted responsibility for clearing the owner’s stoppages. If a contractor clears a stoppage and claims it is the City’s responsibility, the City requires the contractor or property owner, to provide video evidence showing the stoppage and/or to film the line with a city employee there to witness it.
  • To minimize damage and negative health effects, the property owner should arrange for a clean up of the property as soon as possible. There are qualified businesses that specialize in this type of clean up.
  • The City will not perform any work on private property. If the City crew excavates any private lateral line within a public utility easement and the problem is determined to be the property owner’s responsibility, the property owner must have a licensed plumber present to repair the line.
  • The City will not locate the building sewer line/private service line and/or the sewer stub out from the building.  This is the responsibility of the property owner.
  • The City does not acknowledge any means of service line problem area locating, except for radio frequency detection systems and physical exposure.


single service without wye Opens in new windowsingle service with wye



A public utility easement does not mean that the City is responsible for repairing any problem that exists in this area.  An easement is put in place to allow the City and other utilities access to an area without permission from the public.