Sewer Backups and Emergency Procedures

Unfortunately, some homeowners may experience a backup of sewage into their homes. The following is an overview of the steps to be taken if this occurs. Please note: these instructions supersede the language in previous neighborhood directories.

Background and Maintenance

Our District’s sewage flows to the City of Englewood which processes it. The District is responsible for operating and maintaining the main sewer lines within the District. The District does NOT maintain or repair your home sewer lines – i.e., the lines that run from your home to the main lines. Also, despite its name, the District does NOT own, maintain or repair the water supply mains or the water supply lines for your house. Denver Water is responsible for the water supply mains, and homeowners are responsible for the water service lines serving their home.  

The District follows a regular, three-year schedule to have its main sewer lines examined, cleaned and repaired as needed. For this reason, we expect main line blockages to be rare. The District is not responsible for the sewer service lines on homeowner properties. Homeowners should consider the use of root killers and/or yearly clean-out of their service lines to keep them free of blockages (tree roots and other natural debris in the neighborhood are common forms of blockage). Also, since many properties in this neighborhood have older clay pipes and large trees, homeowners may want to have a private contractor periodically inspect (via video camera) their service lines to look for decaying or collapsed pipes, intrusions, breaks etc., which can limit or block sewage from flowing freely to the District mains.   

Procedure for Sewer Line Backups

In the event you experience a backup in your home, please follow these steps in the order listed:

1. CALL A COMPANY OF YOUR CHOICE to have the waste lines in your home and the line from your house to the street checked for problems or blockages. Here are several companies in the area (note: the District does not endorse these companies - they are listed for convenience only):

  • Our Drain and Sewer Company – 720-435-7315
  • Buck George – plumber – 303-854-8048
  • Hydro Physics (video only) – 303-806-0622
  • Pipe Spies – (video only) – 303-795-3630
  • Jake the Snake Sewer Service – 303-905-8047
  • Around the Clog – 720-940-3661
  • Colorado Sewer Service, Inc. – 303-578-2936
  • Denver Rooter Man – 720-327-5353

Note: when contacting a company, let them know the approximate distance from your home to the street. Many of our homes have large setbacks, and not all companies have the necessary equipment to scope or clean the full length of our service lines.

2. IF YOU HAVE VERIFICATION FROM YOUR SEWER COMPANY THAT THE PROBLEM IS NOT IN YOUR HOME LINE, immediately call DES Pipeline Maintenance (DES) at 303-475-5493. The District has contracted with DES to deal with emergency problems in the District’s sewer main lines. DES’s phone line is monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. We suggest adding this contact to your smartphone and/or posting it somewhere you will remember.

  • Tell DES you live within Cherry Hills Heights Water & Sanitation District (CHHWSD), that you are experiencing a sewage backup, and that your sewer company has verified that the problem is not in your service line.
  • Give your name, address, phone number and any details requested.
  • Provide the name and phone number of the company that has checked your line, the date of service and the procedure(s) used.
  • After you have called DES, notify your adjacent neighbors and ask them to stop flushing and stop using their water until the problem is resolved.
  • After you have notified adjacent neighbors, contact at least one of your District Board members to inform them of the problem and steps you’ve taken.
  • If you are unable to reach DES or a Board member, you may also call Jim Landry at 303-468-8482 between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday. Jim is with RG Engineers and is the new Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC) for the District. The State of Colorado requires that every sewer district have an ORC who has been certified by the State to meet certain minimum qualifications relevant to the district’s facilities. 

Here is what you should expect if you have to call DES:

  • DES staffer will answer your call, provide you with their name, and verify that they are the emergency sewer backup contact for CHHWSD.
  • DES will confirm that your address is serviced by CHHWSD and determine from you the nature of issue.
  • DES will dispatch the necessary equipment (e.g., jet truck, video truck) and come to your house as soon as possible to evaluate the issue.
  • DES will confirm that the problem is related to a blockage in the District main line.

If DES confirms it’s a main line blockage, DES will attempt to clear the main line and attempt to notify upstream neighbors, as necessary, to stop using water.

3. IF DES DETERMINES THE ISSUE IS CAUSED BY A PROBLEM IN YOUR SERVICE LINE, you will need to re-contact your private contractor to correct the problem, at your expense.

Keep in mind that DES employees can only provide limited information to you: i.e., that they are investigating the situation and are working to correct the problem.

For your information, DES will charge the District on an hourly basis - $150/hour for personnel and $150/hour for each type of equipment (jet truck, video truck). Given the District’s limited budget, you should only call DES if you are experiencing a sewage backup in your home AND your sewer cleaning contractor has thoroughly investigated the problem and determined the blockage is not in your service line. If you don’t follow these procedures, the District will require reimbursement from you for DES’s fees. 

Note: You should NOT call DES for water main breaks or low water pressure issues.