5 Steps to an Environmentally Friendly Sewer System

5 Steps to an Environmentally Friendly Sewer Flyer1. Locate sewer lines in your area

Town of Clayton sewer lines and force mains are buried below ground in the Public Right of Way (ROW) and down outfall easements. Most outfall manholes are elevated above the ground and are marked with a red or green plastic sewer marker. Force mains are less visible with only manholes or valves located at the high points along the line. Sewer lift stations are where the sewer from low lying areas is pumped back up the hill, through a force main, on its way to the treatment plant. They are typically enclosed in a secure fence with a sign identifying the lift station. They have audio and visual alarms to indicate an issue is occurring. You can obtain information on sewer lines in your area by visiting ClaytonNC.org/sewerlines.

2. Recognize the signs and hazards of an overflow

SSOs (Sanitary Sewer Overflow) occasionally occur in every sewer system, even though systems are intended to collect and contain all the sewage that flows into them. Problems that can cause SSOs include inappropriate materials sent to the sewers – materials such as fats, oils, and grease (FOG), paint, glues and epoxies, and some household products (including some marked ‘flushable’) such as baby wipes, facial wipes, sanitary pads, and tampons. Other issues such as tree roots, bored underground cable and pipes, defects in the piping network and inflow and infiltration can cause overflows. 

Because SSOs contain raw sewage they carry bacteria, viruses, protozoa (parasitic organisms), helminths (intestinal worms), and inhaled molds and fungi. As a result, they may cause diseases ranging in severity from mild gastroenteritis (causing stomach cramps and diarrhea) to life-threatening ailments such as cholera, dysentery, infections hepatitis, and severe gastroenteritis.

3. Know how to respond to SSO emergencies

In the event of any suspicious fluid, debris or activity around a manhole, exposed sewer line, aerial creek crossings, or on an outfall stay away from the area and avoid any contact with the fluid. When someone is excavating and hits a line immediately call the Town of Clayton Operations Center 24/7 at 919-553-1530. Vigilant and timely notifications are key to minimizing environmental impacts from a Sanitary Sewer Overflow.

4. Update SSO Response Action Plan

Every January the Town of Clayton updates their SSO Response Action Plan, to better improve our response and protect the environment in the event of an SSO. New and updated procedures aid and assist timely response. 

5. Help the Town of Clayton prevent overflows

Call 811 – “Call before you Dig”

  • State law requires anyone that digs, commercial contractors, municipal work crews and resident excavators to call the nationwide safe-digging number to have all underground utilities accurately located and marked before any digging project begins. This includes digging in your yard with a shovel. We encourage all prospective excavators to use this free locating service. By calling 811 you can prevent service disruptions, project delays, accidents, injuries and even deaths.

Support a clear Right of Way

  • Please support the Town of Clayton’s efforts to mow and keep rights of ways clear. Clear right of ways are vital to our ongoing prevention and detection programs. Water Resources Staff inspect sewer outfalls three times a year even though only required by law to do so twice annually. The Town of Clayton Encourages watch programs to help detect issues and SSOs.
  • Things to consider as a homeowner on easements, no fences, sheds, trees, shrubs, or other permanent structures are allowed. Moveable objects such as trampolines, swing sets, vehicles etc. should not be placed on easements either. In the event of an emergency these items will be moved for construction vehicles to pass.