Water & Sewer Department
The Water & Sewer Department is responsible for the maintenance of the 51 miles of water main and sewer lines in the borough and surrounding servicing areas. If you see a water main break, please call Borough Hall during regular business hours or the Police Department after hours.
What Are the Homeowner's Responsibilities?
In Schuylkill Haven, like most communities, drinking water service lines and sewer laterals – the pipelines that carry drinking water and wastewater to and from homes and buildings to Schuylkill Haven Borough's distribution and collection mains – are the responsibility of the property owner. Repairing and replacing these lines and laterals can be costly. Homeowners must maintain and make repairs to these lines when there is an issue. Schuylkill Haven Borough is responsible for the water and wastewater mains that connect all service lines to our central facilities.
Inspecting your service lines
It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that the lines are functioning properly. Work with a licensed plumber to inspect the lines. They can visually inspect sewer lines with a video camera. Inspection and proper maintenance can prevent raw sewage from backing up into your home or the formation of sinkholes and other damage to the surrounding area. Roof downspouts storm drains foundation drains are not permitted in the Boroughs sanitary sewer collection system.
A party line is a private sewer or water line shared by two or more properties. Repairs on party lines must be worked out between homeowners. If problems arise on party lines, homeowners can apply to the Borough to connect directly to a main, at the homeowner’s expense.
Sewer Backups & Overflow
The property owner is responsible for hiring a licensed plumber to clear any blockages or repair any damage to private laterals. Property owners are responsible for their sewer laterals up to the point of connection with borough owned main. Tenants should report any problems with sewage directly to their landlord for correction. The borough will not clear any private lines. For problems with common, private lines that serve multiple properties, all property owners served by that line are required to jointly participate in the clearing of the common line.
- Fats, Oils, and Grease
Keep our sewers fat free. When fat, oil, or grease flows down your drain it sticks to the insides of the sewer and can block flow. After cooking, pour your grease into a can and keep it in the freezer. When the can is full, throw it into the trash.
Flush only toilet paper. No matter what the label says, flush only human waste and toilet paper. Remember to flush only the three P’s – paper (toilet), pee, and poo.
- Aging Laterals
Cracked or collapsed sewer lateral can block flow. Roots from trees or other vegetation can grow into your sewer lateral and block flow. Roof downspouts or foundation drains can overwhelm your pipe during heavy rains and lead to a backup.
Ownership & Responsibility
A building sewer is the pipe that connects a house or structure to the public sewer system. The building sewer extends from the building foundation or basement wall to the main sewer line, which is typically located in a street or easement. Building sewers are a part of the property they serve and maintaining and repairing them is the responsibility of the property owner.
Sewer cleanouts should be installed outside of foundation or in sidewalk, preferably in the sidewalk. For longer laterals, cleanouts should be placed every 75 feet. Most building sewers have cleanouts installed every 75 feet or less, to allow the sewer pipe to be cleared in the event of a clog. The cleanouts are typically 4 inches in diameter and composed of white PVC plastic. A broken cleanout may allow excess surface water into the sewer system during heavy rain events and let in dirt and debris that could potentially clog your building sewer. Cleanout covers and collars may be obtained at your local home builder supply for a few dollars if they are broken. Please contact the borough for advice on repairs if necessary.
If your building sewer is clogged and you have determined that the blockage is not on your property, please call the Borough and they will check the main sewer serving your property. If the problem is the main sewer, the Borough will address the problem immediately. If the main sewer serving your home is determined not to be the source of the problem, the Borough will contact you to report their findings.
Some homes are served by grinder pumps instead of gravity sewer lines. The grinder pump unit is owned by the homeowner and the repair and maintenance of that unit is the homeowner's responsibility. If you are having operational difficulty with your grinder pump, you may contact a local plumber for repair service. The borough can put you in contact with the company that sells replacement pumps and have specific training.
Please be aware that sewer easements or rights-of-way are located on some properties in the borough, and objects are not to be constructed or placed in those areas. If a private object such as a tree, fence, or shed is placed in such an area, the borough is under no obligation to replace that object or reimburse the owner for damage or loss if it is removed or damaged in the process of sewer maintenance or repair work. Lack of awareness for easement locations does not provide an exception for placing or constructing items upon them. Please protect your investments and do not place them in sewer easements or right-of-way areas. If you are unsure if a sewer easement or right-of-way exists on your property, please contact the borough at 570-385-2841 for information and details.