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Emergency Sewer Backups/Sewer Maintenance


Emergency Sewer Backups

The closing on the sale of the Sanitary Sewer System has been postponed. For the short-term please contact Cheltenham Township with any sewer calls per the information below. (posted 12/6/2019)

If you see WATER COMING OUT OF MANHOLES, please call 911.

If you experience any of the following issues, please call 215-635-3864 any time, day or night; If you do not receive a return call from a Supervisor after five minutes, please call 911: 
  • your toilet or sink overflows.
  • your drain makes a gurgling sound.
  • you smell a sewer odor.
  • your drains work poorly during a heavy rain.

Do not email your Commissioner or Township Manager because emails are not monitored 24/7.

Sanitary Sewer Maintenance

Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sewer lateral line that runs from their home/business to the Township’s “main” sewer lines.

Tree Roots

Tree roots are commonly attracted to lateral lines because of the abundance of water and nutrients in sewage. Roots can penetrate any crack or damaged joint. Once in the pipe, roots will expand until they fill all of the available space inside the pipe, which can lead to a sewer backup inside your house. The Township recommends that you schedule annual maintenance with your plumber to avoid a root problem.

Sump Pumps

During wet weather events, sewers are subject to infiltration and inflow (I & I).  Surface water may enter the sewer via sump pumps, open vents or cracks in sewer pipes.  Such excess water can overload the pipes and, in extreme cases, cause sewage to overflow from manholes or basement plumbing fixtures. Sump pumps in homes or businesses must be permanently piped out into a yard, seepage pit or storm drain, per Township Ordinance.

Other Tips

  • Don’t flush diapers, paper towels, baby wipes, wet wipes, medications or any other material – except toilet paper and human waste – into toilets.
  • Minimize the use of garbage disposals.
  • Don’t dump cooking grease into drains. (See Fats, Oils and Grease Ordinance.)
  • The Township will not be responsible or be liable for damages and/or losses that occurred due to the negligence or the fault of another party.
  • Tips of avoiding sewer back-ups and drain clogs

More Information

Cheltenham Public Works Department: Business hours, Monday – Friday, 7:00 3:30 p.m.
215-635-4600. After Hours or weekend calls are to go to all 215-635-3864 to the on-call superior.

      Cheltenham Township   ~   8230 Old York Road   ~   Elkins Park, PA 19027
      Hours: Monday-Friday, 8AM-4:30PM
      Phone: 215-887-1000   ~   Fax: 215-887-1561
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