Sanitary Sewer System

The Utilities Department maintains approximately 63 miles of sewer main, 7 lift stations, and over 1,500 manholes. Treatment of Ramsey wastewater is handled on a metropolitan level by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Service.

It is the City's objective to provide sewer lines of adequate size to handle existing and future sewage flows. We inspect, clean and maintain the sewer system to minimize sewer backups and other system problems.

Ramsey attempts to eliminate any infiltration/inflow problems in the sanitary sewer system. These are sources of uncontaminated water which would provide an unnecessary burden on the wastewater treatment facility.

Treatment costs and the cost of maintaining the City's system of trunk and laterals are paid for by the sanitary sewer utility. Customers are billed quarterly.

Sanitary Sewer Back-Up Checklist
If you have problems with your sewer, or experience a sewer back up, call the Utilities Department at 763.433.9861 from 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. weekdays or call Anoka County Central Dispatch at 763.427.1212 after regular hours and on weekends. Even if the problem is not located on the City's sewer main, the City wants to check the sewer mains for items which may be cut loose and pushed into the City system and possibly cause a new plug.

Begin the clean-up as promptly as possible. The City will report the back-up to League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) and an adjuster will contact you shortly. In the meantime, don't delay beginning the clean-up. For health and safety reasons, you may wish to use a commercial service rather than doing the clean-up yourself. A list of firms that do this type of work is located under carpet cleaners in the yellow pages. Please note that the City of Ramsey doesn't require, endorse, or recommend the use of any particular firm.

Notify your own insurance company. In many cases, your homeowner's or other insurance will cover some or all of the costs and damages from a sewer back-up. The LMCIT adjuster will also ask you for information on your own insurance. No Fault Insurance: This insurance could pay for the costs a resident or property owner incurs during clean-up and for damages caused by a sewer back-up.

Make a list of the items that were damaged or destroyed. Include as much information as you can on the description, age, and value of each item. Purchase receipts are helpful if they're available. If possible, it's helpful to take photographs of any damaged items that you dispose of. Keep receipts for any clean-up or repair work you have done.

If you have questions or if you don't hear from the LMCIT adjuster, contact the Utilities Department at 763.433.9861.

Sanitary Sewer Backups
Sewage flows by gravity though a system of underground pipes. When the flow is obstructed the sewer may back-up into the property owner's building. There are three types of sewer back-ups: private service line blockage, city main blockage and catastrophic situations. Most sewer back-ups are preventable.

In service line blockage only one property is affected. These include back-ups related to tree roots and any thing that will not totally dissolve that could plug the sewer service such as disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, bandages, rags, and plastics bags. The property owner is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the sewer service from the City sewer main.

A sewer main blockage will most likely affect more than one property. Sewer mains may back-up when the sewer main pipe breaks down. The City routinely inspects the sanitary sewer system to prevent sewer main failures. Sewer main back-ups may also be caused by the same items that cause private service line to back up. These items manage to flow through the private service line but then get stuck in the main. Improper cleaning of a private sewer services may move the blockage problem further down stream into the sewer main. Construction activates from time to time accidentally create blockage problems as well.

In catastrophic situations large numbers of properties are likely to be affected. These include back-ups related to exceptionally heavy rainfall exceeding the "100-year" amount; back-ups due to flooding; back-ups due to an extended power outage; and any disaster type situation. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) usually provides funds to assist property owners in catastrophic situations.

Sanitary Sewer FAQs

How does the City of Ramsey inspect its sanitary sewers?
Remote control video cameras televise the entire sewer system once every five years or 30,000 feet of sewer mains per year. This video tape inspection locates existing and potential problem areas for repair including root cutting or root treating areas with tree root problems, joint sealing and short lining areas to correct infiltration and broken tile.

How often are the sanitary sewers cleaned?
The entire sewer system is cleaned with a high pressure sewer jetter once every three years or 1/3 of the system annually. Pressure changes when the City cleans the sewer main may cause your toilet to flush and or create noise.

What items should not be flushed down toilets?
Any thing that will not totally dissolve and could plug the sewer mains such as disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, bandages, rags, and plastics bags.  

Click here to watch a video on what not to flush down your toilets. 

Is Ramsey's sanitary sewer system adequate to meet future expectations?
Yes. Most of the sewer system was built in the last 15 years and pipe sizing was determined anticipating future development.

What is Ramsey doing to eliminate any infiltration/inflow problems that may exist or develop in the sanitary sewer system?
Frequently televising the systems allows us to see if there are any defects in the pipe network. As mentioned the Ramsey sewer system is relatively new.

What is a lift station?
Lift stations pump the sewer up hill from a low point which enables the sewage to flow by gravity to the next low point and eventually into one of two Metropolitan Council Environmental Services interceptor sewers.