We're here to help 24/7! Before you call a plumber, call MetroConnects at 864.277.4442.

Understanding Your Lateral: Why it Matters to You

October 3, 2022


At MetroConnects, we hope our customers don’t spend a lot of time thinking about their plumbing. To keep plumbing from becoming a problem, though, it helps to know a bit about how it works. As a homeowner or renter, you probably keep a plunger handy in case of backups in toilets and drains, but where exactly does your maintenance responsibility end? That’s where understanding laterals comes in.

Protect Your Pipes

Plumbers are great people! That doesn’t mean you want them coming over regularly for a house call. Keep your plumber at bay by remembering these four key tips

1. REMEMBER THE RULE OF THREE P’s: Nothing but poop, pee and (toilet) paper down the toilet. Wipes (not even ones labeled “flushable”), sanitary napkins and tampons, paper towels, etc., should all go in a waste bin.

2. AVOID THE FOG: No fats, oil or grease down the drain. Keep a grease jar with a lid for all FOG products  (this includes things like cheese, cream, peanut butter and other oily or fatty products) and dispose of it in the trash. Avoid starchy food, eggshells and coffee grinds as well.

3. CAP YOUR CLEANOUT: The sewer cleanout is usually located outside somewhere between your home and the street. It allows access to the sewer line if there is a problem. It should always have a cap on it to keep debris from entering the sewer line and clogging it up.

4. PRACTICE SEWER SAFE LANDSCAPING: Tree roots can penetrate or bend your lateral pipes, causing back up. Call MetroConnects at (864) 277-4442 to see if tree roots are causing your clogs.

What are Laterals?

Laterals are pipes that carry used water from your drains and toilets to the main sewer line. The wastewater then travels through the main to a sewer treatment plant to be cleaned and reintroduced into the environment. Every drop of water that exists on our planet now has existed since the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, and will continue to exist indefinitely. It is up to us to keep it clean!

Who is Responsible for Your Lateral?

Homeowners served by MetroConnects are responsible for the portion of the lateral that starts at the public right-of-way and connects to the house. MetroConnects takes over the maintenance of laterals from the public right-of-way. We keep things in tip-top shape as wastewater moves from these public portions of the laterals onto Metro-operated mains. Eventually, these mains meet up with trunk lines, a larger diameter line, operated by ReWa, your wastewater treatment provider. From there, ReWa takes over and the wastewater heads to one of its treatment plants to be cleaned.

How MetroConnects Can Help

If you are experiencing a sewer backup in your home, it might be difficult to tell where the clog is located. Before you call a plumber, call MetroConnects at (864) 277-4442 to see if we can help! A MetroConnects employee will check the public sanitary sewer lateral for any blockage and will talk homeowners through any next steps that may be needed.

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