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Wastewater Collection
Responsibilities
Over 520 million gallons of sewage is transported annually through the city’s 73 miles of sewer collection lines. The sanitary sewer system operates on a gravity system. With the help of 17 primary pumping stations, sewage that originates from customers flows through the collection system and is delivered to the City of Portland Wastewater Treatment facility.

The Collection Department is responsible for operation and maintenance of all underground sanitary sewer system, including all gravity flow lines, force mains, manholes, cleanouts, frames, covers, structures, appurtenances, and connections to new buildings and structures, service lines, and lift stations.

Delineation Between Private Sewer Service and the Public Sewer MainSewage Backups
The diagram to the right shows the delineation between private sewer service and the public sewer main.

In cases of sewage backups, please call the Department at (361) 777-4601 to identify if it is a public sewer main or private sewer service blockage. If the blockage is in the private sewer line, you will be advised to call a plumber. The owner of the property is responsible for maintaining and cleaning the sewer lateral from the building (or home) to the sewer main, including the connection on the sewer main. City maintenance of the sewer service ends at the outside surface of the pipe on the sewer main, where the tap is made. Locating the lateral is also the responsibility of the property owner. Blockages in the public sewer main will be addressed immediately by city personnel.

Note: It is the responsibility of the homeowner or business to maintain the integrity of the sewer lateral including preventing rainwater from entering the city’s wastewater collection system through uncapped cleanouts and/or broken cleanouts and pipe.