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Residential Wastewater

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Westminster Wastewater Collections is responsible for collecting and treating wastewater from residential and commercial properties in Westminster. Here are some important things that residents should know about the system: 

  • Don't flush anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. Flushing items like flushable wipes, feminine hygiene products, and medications can cause blockages and damage to the system. 
  • Properly dispose of FOGG (fats, oils, grease, and grit). Pouring these substances down the drain can cause blockages and backups in the sewer system. Instead, dispose of them in the trash or recycle them through a yellow grease container. 
  • Report any issues with your sewer system, such as backups or blockages, to the City's Wastewater Collections division by calling (303) 658-2500 or submitting a service request through Access Westminster.
  • Regularly maintain your sewer system by scheduling inspections and cleanings with a licensed plumber. 
  • Be mindful of what you put down your sink and garbage disposal. Food waste, coffee grounds, and other debris can also cause blockages in the sewer system. 

By following these guidelines and working together, we can all help protect the environment and maintain a reliable sewer system in Westminster. 

Fats, Oils, Grit, and Grease (FOGG) 

The fats, oils, grease, and grit (FOGG) you put in your sink end up sticking inside sewer pipes. As the FOGG builds up, it blocks the flow, causing untreated wastewater to back up into homes and businesses. If everyone poured their FOGG down the drain, then manholes could overflow into parks, yards, streets, and storm drains. If that were to happen, our drinking water could get contaminated. That’s why it’s best to properly dispose of FOGG. 

Examples of FOGG: 

  • Butter 
  • Cooking oil 
  • Grease 
  • Food scraps 
  • Lard 
  • Margarine 
  • Meat bits 
  • Shortening 

Don’t Flush Medicine 

If you have any leftover medicine, do not flush it down the toilet or wash it down the sink. Although it might seem harmless, it’s not. Studies have found that flushed medications can contaminate our lakes and streams, which can hurt wildlife and potentially end up in our drinking water. 

There are plenty of safe medication take back locations across the Denver Metro. Click here for a list of safe places to dispose of your unwanted medications. You can find more safety disposal tips here

Tips for Safe FOGG Disposal 

  • Pour the grease into an old coffee can or pickle jar. After the grease cools, you can throw the whole container into your trash bin. 
  • Wipe out your pans before washing them in the sink. For greasy pans, pour the grease into a container and use a paper towel to wipe out the pan’s remaining grease before washing. 
  • Seal the oil. Liquid should not exceed one-half gallon. Pour your liquid vegetable oil into a sealable, disposable container and then mix in an absorbent material such as kitty litter or coffee grounds. Then you can throw away the whole container. 
  • You can keep your drains clean by pouring ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a ½ cup of white vinegar. Wait 10-15 minutes and then rinse with hot water. 

What NOT to do with FOGG

  • Don’t pour fat, oil, grease, or grit down drains or garbage disposals. 
  • Don’t use hot water to wash grease off your pans. Although the hot water does turn the grease liquid so it flows down the drain, it will congeal in the pipes, causing problems.

Many people think that a garbage disposal can handle anything, but that is not the case. In fact, there are many things that should never be put down the drain, even with a garbage disposal. Some examples include fats, oils, grease, and grit (FOGG), which can build up in pipes and cause blockages. Other items that should never be put down the drain include coffee grounds, eggshells, bones, fruit pits, vegetable peels, and pasta. These items can all damage your garbage disposal and clog your pipes, leading to expensive repairs. It's important to properly dispose of these items in the trash or compost instead of down the drain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sewer lateral line that runs from their property to the point of connection with the City's main sewer line. If there is a backup in the sewer lateral line on your property, you should contact a licensed plumber to assess the situation and perform any necessary repairs. 
If the backup is determined to be in the City's main sewer line, you should contact Westminster Wastewater Collections at (303) 658-2500 to report the issue. They will send a crew to investigate and address the problem if it is on the City's side of the line. 

If you see or experience a sewage backup on public property, such as a street or sidewalk, you should contact the City of Westminster's Wastewater Collections division at (303) 658-2500 as soon as possible. They will send a crew to investigate and address the issue. 

No, it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain those pipes. The City owns the main line that’s under the road. You are responsible for maintaining the pipes that go from your home until it connects with the City’s main line. If you see a manhole cover in your neighborhood, there’s a good chance the City owns a sewer main under the road. For more information, please reference Westminster Municipal Code, Title VIII, Chapter 8
If you have questions about who is responsible for the sewer service beneath your driveway, you should contact the City of Westminster's Wastewater Collections division at (303) 658-2500.
You’ve just spotted one of the City’s vacuum trucks! Westminster regularly maintains over 400 miles of sewer pipe. Crews are often out inspecting the lines to make sure sewer water is continuing to flow away from your home. Regular maintenance helps avoid costly blockages. The vacuum truck is a vacuum and pressure washer that goes in and clears debris, grease, and roots from the line. Our closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection vans use cameras mounted on remote control vehicles to go through the pipe and look for structural and maintenance defects. Our crews use the data collected from the CCTV inspection to determine the best approach for maintaining or repairing every section of sewer pipe.

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When crews clean the sewer system, they use high-pressure water to remove debris and buildup from the pipes. This can cause pressure to build up in the pipes, which can result in air being forced out through the vent stack and into your home's plumbing system. If your home's plumbing system is not properly vented, this air may escape through your toilet, causing it to make burping or gurgling sounds and even some splashing. This generally should stop once the cleaning process is complete. However, if you notice ongoing issues with your plumbing, it is always a good idea to contact a professional plumber to assess the situation. 
A strong sewer odor coming from your basement or a specific room could indicate a problem with your plumbing or sewer system. Some possible causes of the odor include: 
  • A dry P-trap, which allows sewer gas to enter your home 
  • A damaged sewer pipe 
  • A blocked or damaged sewer vent pipe. 
If you smell sewer gas in your home, it’s important to address the issue promptly for health and safety reasons. You should contact a licensed plumber to inspect your plumbing system and identify the source of the odor. They can recommend the best course of action to resolve the problem, which may involve repairs or replacement of damaged pipes or fixtures, or installation of a new sewer vent pipe. 
Just because something can technically go down a drain, doesn’t mean it should. Most sewage pumps were designed to handle toilet paper and human waste. Toilet paper quickly breaks apart when wet, making it safe to flush.  
However, people have flushed the following items, which ended up blocking the City’s pipes, causing our pumps to stop working: 
  • Wipes  
  • Swiffer cleaning pads 
  • Floss 
  • Diapers 
  • Sanitary napkins 
  • Paper towels 
  • T-shirts 
  • Rags 
  • Lumber   
Please only flush toilet paper down the toilet, otherwise you could create blockages in your home’s drain system, as well as in the public sewer system. 
  • Tree roots can be a common cause of sewer backups. Roots naturally seek out sources of water and can infiltrate sewer lines through small cracks or openings. Once inside, they can grow and spread, causing blockages and damage to the pipes. Regular maintenance such as rodding and hydro jetting can help to clear out roots and prevent backups, but in severe cases, excavation and pipe repair may be necessary to fully address the issue. Homeowners can also take steps to prevent root intrusion by avoiding planting trees or shrubs near sewer lines and being mindful of what they flush down their drains. 
  • Properly dispose of FOGG (fats, oils, grease, and grit) by placing them in a sealed container and throwing them in the trash. 
  • Do not flush anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Items such as wipes, feminine hygiene products, and dental floss should be thrown in the trash. 
  • Have your sewer lateral line inspected and cleaned by a professional plumber on a regular basis. 
  • Do not plant trees or shrubs near your sewer lateral line. 
  • Avoid pouring large amounts of water into your drains all at once. Instead, spread out water usage over time.   
A manhole is a vertical access shaft in a sewer system or utility network that allows maintenance personnel to enter and access the pipes for inspection, cleaning, and repairs. It is typically a cylindrical structure made of concrete or metal, with a removable cover on top that allows entry. Manholes are important components of any underground utility network, providing access for maintenance and emergency services, as well as ventilation for the system. 

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If you have questions about Wastewater Collections or need to report an issue, please call (303) 658-2500. You can also submit a service request through Access Westminster