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Wastewater Collection
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.

Sewage Backups
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 the sewer lateral from City easement to the house.  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.

What is Safe to Flush?

Every day the City of Portland's wastewater collection facilities collect foreign objects from the sewer lines.  Human waste and toilet tissue are the ONLY things that should be flushed down the toilet.

Even if items say they are "flushable" they should not go down the commode.  Common items found include:


Feminine Sanitary Items

Baby Wipes

Facial Wipes


Paper Towels

Cigarette Butts

Dead Pets

Kitty Litter

Animal Feces


Dental Floss


Bandages/Medical Materials

Cleaning Rags

Keeping the sewer clear of foreign objects saves everyone time and money.  Let's keep these items out of sewer!