Sewer Systems : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I live in a town in the mountains. Because of this our sewer system requires a constant electric supply to keep it pumping. 1 year ago the system failed at a neighbors home. You can guess the rest. My question is. If the electric fails for some time could this be a problem that I and others should be aware of? Can I shut my system off?

-- Greg Wiatt (, January 29, 1998


You'll have to contact the civil engineer running your system and see if there are any shut off values (I doubt it - most buracracies cannot invision disaster - their paychecks would stop). Otherwise, yes, people at the top of the hill will be crapping in your yard or basement.

With the recent servere power outage in the northeast I would think that it would be easier to get answers and cooperation than it would have been two months ago. Specifically planning for Y2K would be doing it the hard way - just bring up the topic as a general disaster preparedness question. You might be able to have a preparedness plan drawn up, sources of lime, cardboard box & liner toilet plans, etc. if interest can be drummed up, which could then be printed up and distributed.

-- Ken Seger (, January 31, 1998.

In regard to sewage backups into houses, I will contribute an observation that my mother made about 1942, when she was working in the St. Louis MO area.

She said that she had seen cutoff valves attached to outgoing sewage pipes in the basements of houses near the Mississipi river. The valves had been installed after the flood of 1927 backed up sewage into the houses.

For more recent information on the backup problem, ask people what happened during the flood of 1993.

-- David Wallace (, April 02, 1998.

In 1993 in Cedar Rapids, IA, the sewer backed up into the basements of the lowest homes when the plant had to be shut down due to high water. They also sandbagged around manholes to try and keep the backup from the storm sewers from flooding other streets.

I would imagine that each city is different, back-flow valves would be nice, but I doubt everyone has them. I also think that if the sewage plant shuts down, in most cases the sewage will by-pass treatment and be dumped into the river, lake, etc. raw. This could mean drinking water would be affected and down-river would be contaminated for some time. It is hard to say how far this would go in contaminating the water supplies - not just for drinking, but the food chain. (fishing, water for livestock, watering gardens, etc.)

-- Rebecca Kutcher (, April 02, 1998.

How does one go about finding out if you have a back-flow valve or a shut off valve in your home?

-- Evangeline (, April 05, 1999.


For this--I think you need to call a plumber. To make it worthwhile, ask him also how to shut off incoming water (if you are on a municipal system and there are problems) to your home.

-- FM (, April 06, 1999.

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