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 through Friday 7:30 a.m. through 2 p.m. 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

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.

Damaged Sewer Line

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

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. 

Private Property

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.