Imagine you’re in charge of wastewater collection system maintenance when suddenly a recent storm overflows the sewer system. When combined sewers connect to wastewater treatment plants, they can become overburdened during combined sewer overflows or CSO events. Aging infrastructure corrodes piping, resulting in blockages and leaks. This results in inefficient treatment or untreated sewage bypass discharged into rivers, streams or other waterways. These situations pose a threat to water quality, aquatic life, human health, and properties; it contributes to the biological, chemical and aesthetic pollution of the waterway. 

Learn the importance of regularly maintaining a crucial part of the wastewater collection system, reduce the volume and frequency of untreated sewage discharges, and help you plan for future issues and emergency responses.

Common Problems Found with Poor Wastewater Collection System Maintenance

When the integral components of a collection system break down, it’s likely due to poor or irregular maintenance, or aging infrastructure. Just as your home needs regular maintenance to prevent problems that result in minor issues to health hazards, so does the wastewater collection system. When sewer systems age and deteriorate, risks of blockages and complete collapses become a major risk to sewer systems, therefore the environment.

It’s essential to clean and inspect collection systems and replace old equipment. Corroded pipes stop proper water flow, resulting in backups, commonly called sanitary sewer overflows, (SSO’s) illegal under the Clean Water Act. When untreated sewage releases into the environment, health hazards increase, including deadly disease outbreaks. In the U.S., sewage collection system infrastructure dates back between 30 and 100 years, which increases the risk of malfunctions, blockages, cracks, and leaks. It can also damage private and public property and impact local and state economies. Not only is regular maintenance vital, but how and when you maintain a sewer collection system makes all the difference in its effectiveness.

The Best Ways to Inspect Sewer Collection Systems

Although you should perform regular wastewater collection system maintenance, it’s important to know the best ways to inspect sewers. According to the EPA, these include:


  • Cameras (in typically large sewers)
  • Visual inspection (surface and internal)
  • Lamping inspection (for pipes less than 20 years old or in low-priority pipes)
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) (most frequently used)


Sunken areas in the ground-cover above a sewer line and ponding water areas need special attention by operators. They also need to check the physical conditions of stream crossings, manhole frames, and covers or any exposed brickwork. To ensure proper function and keep sewer systems in optimal condition, you need a consistent cleaning schedule.

The Right Time and Methods for Wastewater Collection System Maintenance

The optimal time for scheduling maintenance typically goes in conjunction with low flow conditions, which means between midnight and 5 AM, when you can temporarily plug sewer lines and reduce the flow, or when flow conditions potentially overtop a camera. It’s important that when cleaning sewer lines, local communities know about the EPA regulations on solid and hazardous waste.

Performing sewer collection system maintenance includes several different forms of technology, (mechanical and hydraulic) such as:

  • Bucket machines
  • Rodding
  • Balling
  • Flushing
  • Jetting
  • Scooter
  • Kites, bags, and poly pigs
  • Grease traps and sand/oil interceptors
  • Chemicals

Whichever applications you use, ensure maintenance occurs in a timely fashion.


ATS Innova Aids in Sewer Collection System Maintenance

Our ATS Innova product line specializes in FOG removal, hydrogen sulfide, sludge, and more that builds up in sewer systems. Our water experts know what to look for and will give you options, so you make the right decision for wastewater treatment. Contact our representatives at 855.215.4600 to schedule a FREE plant walk-through. Our commitment and dedication is improving life…one drop at a time.

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