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Intro to Tacoma Side Sewers

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Intro to Tacoma Side Sewers

Whether you realize it or not, if you live or own a business in Tacoma you more than likely have a side sewer. A side sewer is a means of carrying wastewater from one’s toilets to the city main. From there it will be transferred to a wastewater treatment plant, and purified for future use. With a job this important, it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure all side sewers are regularly maintained and kept in working order.


Here in the city of Tacoma, every resident is responsible for their own side sewer, all the way from the building to the city main. Older side sewer pipes within the city may be made up of clay or concrete, which are subject to cracking, shifting or root intrusions. This in turn leads to leakage or blockages in the pipes. For this reason it is extremely important that you know and understand what your pipes are made of, and how they can be repaired. The best first step you can take when concerned about your sewer pipes is scheduling a camera inspection. This will allow a professional to tell you exactly what kind of material your pipes are made of, as well as if there are any compromised areas you should be concerned about. Side sewer and pipe repairs can be extremely costly. This is why it is best practice to have an inspection done before any unfortunate issues arise concerning blockages, backups, or any other type of pipe problems.

Know Your Sewer, Save Your Money

Sometimes it literally pays to know what you’ve got going on under your property. Most homes in Tacoma built before 1970 use some form of one of the following:

  • Concrete
  • Orangeburg
  • Clay pipe

Homes that were built after that time tend to have more modern pipe systems made up of far more durable PVC piping. If you’re not sure what your side sewer is make of, you may be able to find out by contacting the city and checking for permit records linked to your property. This can be done by visiting and clicking permit/ site history, or by calling Environmental Services at 253-591-5588. You can also use those resources to find the location of your side sewer if you are not able to access building plans, or contact the previous owner. It is worth noting that the city tends to have more information about homes built after 1950, and only carries records of work done with permits.

Our Tacoma Plumbers Are Here for You

If all else fails and you are not able to find any info about the make or location of your side sewer, we are 100% able to find that information for you with a simple camera inspection. If you happen to find yourself in a situation where your side sewer is backing up or blocked, we are available for emergency services 7 days a week. You can contact us any time at 253-345-7222.