Sewer Line blockages

City of Berea currently offers a non fee service to the residential home owner to assist in opening a blocked service lateral. This service is provide Monday thru Friday 7:30am thru 2:00pm during normal business hours. Resident’s home must have an accessible cleanout to obtain this service located outside of the property or in a full size basement. For further information please call the Service Garage 440-826-5853 during hours of operation. 

Causes of Sewer Blockage/Damage

The majority of a tree’s roots grow in the top eighteen inches of the soil where moisture, texture and oxygen are available.  Sewer lines are installed well below where conditions are normally favorable for root growth.  Very rarely, unless a tree is planted directly on top of a sewer line, will a tree’s roots grow far enough down to damage a properly buried sewer line.  Root encroachment into sewer pipes does not occur until the pipe cracks, separates or the joints begin to leak.  The soil around the pipe is then nutrient enriched and an ideal growing environment for roots is thus created.  Roots then grow into this area and it is only a matter of time until they enter the defective pipe.

Repeatedly, clogged sewer lines are a good indicator of a collapsed or badly damaged sewer line.  Property owners often request that the nearest tree be removed.  Unfortunately, tree removal may still not address the problem of the damaged pipe.  Even if the closest  tree is removed, a leaking or damaged pipe creates an ideal environment for root growth, and other nearby trees, if they weren’t doing so already will grow into that area.

Other causes for sewer back-ups include grease accumulation, soap residue buildup, deposits of paper products, including feminine hygiene products as well as structural failure.


The property owner is responsible for all inside plumbing and for the service line until it reaches the public right of way (usually the sidewalk).  The City of Berea’s responsibility begins at the edge of the utility easement.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to provide exterior access to the home’s service line (a clean-out or test-tee of at least 4” in diameter).  The city will make an effort to locate the cleanout.  When the cleanout is located, the City will determine who is responsible for clearing the back-up.  If the problem is located in the public portion of the sewer line, the City will make repairs as quickly as possible at no charge.  If the problem is on the private property side, the customer will be advised that they are responsible for any needed repairs.  The City will not respond to subsequent requests for assistance until the property owner makes the necessary repairs on the private property portion of the sewer line.

Wet Weather Sewer Back-Up

One of the most frustrating experiences for homeowners is basement flooding due to sewer back- ups during major rain events.  What most homeowners do not realize is that they and their neighbors could be contributing to the cause of the back-ups.  The major cause of wet weather sewer back-ups is storm water that finds its way into the sanitary sewer system.

Inflow is water that is dumped into the sanitary sewer system through improper connections such as downspouts, foundation drainage systems, sump pumps, and area drains.  Infiltration refers to ground water that seeps into cracks in underground pipes (caused by shifted joints, age or tree roots that have grown into the pipe), and storm water that enters through sump pumps or house foundation drains that are connected to the sanitary sewer.

Storm water is usually collected and transported through a separate storm sewer system; the sanitary sewer system is meant for waste discharge only.  During rains, storm water will find its way into the sanitary sewer system through any opening it can find, including cracks in the pipes and direct connections from plumbing in the home.

The EPA outlawed storm water connections into sanitary sewer systems in the early 1970’s.  However, many homes built prior to 1970 routinely have downspouts, sump pumps, area or patio drains, and foundation drains tied to the sanitary sewer system.  Engineering studies conclude that many illegal connections remain.  The City and NEORSD continue to inspect and require disconnection of these illegal storm connections.

Residents are urged to do their part by having an inspection of their inside plumbing to see if there are any improper connections to the sanitary sewer system.  Downspouts that are piped underground may be connected to the sanitary sewer.  Your storm sump should discharge through a pipe in your foundation wall to the outside of your home.  Area and patio drains should outlet to a storm sewer.  If in doubt, contact the Engineering Department at 440-826-5814 to schedule an inspection and or test to determine where your drain discharges.  Should you find an improper connection, a registered plumber should be contacted to correct the situation.

With a little knowledge and effort, City residents can help reduce the risk of basement flooding and take important steps to protect their home, property and possessions.

Sanitary and Storm Sewer Mains / Catch Basin Maintenance

City of Berea has an ongoing maintenance program of cleaning main storm lines and catch basins to help alleviate accumulated debris and blockages that can occur. Catch basin repairs on done by the city as a need occurs. For further concerns please call the Service Garage 440-826-5853.


Go With the Flow “ Avoid The Clog”

Take precautions to help Plumbing Problems

Hints for what is Not Ok to put down the drain.

-  No grease, vegetable oils or fats down your kitchen sink.

-  No bones, fruit pies, shells, metal, vegetables (like celery), corn husks, artichokes or asparagus in the garbage disposal.

-  No cotton balls, facial tissue,bandages,sanitary products, babay wipes or paper towels down the toilet.

-  No medications, hair,lotions or cosmetics down the bathroom sink, either.

Following these hints and you will lessen the likelihood of a plumbing problem.


400 Barrett Road
Berea, OH 44017

Service Garage

Paul Anzalone
440-243-3339 (Fax)

Suzan Calderaro
Assistant Superintendent Administration
440-243-3339  (Fax)

Water Plant

Sandra O. Vozar
P.E., Utility Engineer

440-826-5800, ext. 6225

Ken Yee
Water Plant Superintendent
440-234-5652 ext. 
440-891-3310 (Fax)

For immediate attention 24/7, dial 234-5652, ext. 461

For concerns about water quality 24/7, dial 234-5652, ext. 226

To speak with the shift operator 24/7, dial 234-5652, ext. 225

Water/Sewer Billing Finance Department

Joan Heckathorn
440-243-3339 (Fax)

Administrative Office

Barbara Jones
Director of Public Safety/Service

440-234-5628 (Fax) 

Karen Ortiz
Department Administrator
440-243-3339 (Fax) 

After hour emergencies:
Police Department 440-826-5870

City of Berea - 11 Berea Commons - Berea, Ohio 44017 - (440)826-5800
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