It’s hard to imagine that how Americans use the bathroom has changed so much since the first sewer pipes were laid. However, ask any sewer contractor in Los Angeles, and you’ll likely hear some stories that will make you cringe. The truth is that toilet usage has changed a lot over the years and the sewer infrastructure isn’t strong enough to handle the influx of non-organic and organic waste, especially commercial sewer systems.

According to a 2015 story published by The Atlantic, “Flushing the Toilet Has Never Been Riskier.” As local sewer contractors who work on commercial sewer pipes every day, we couldn’t agree more, and the problem is only getting worse.

Waste Removal Isn’t Magic

Yet, when you ask people where waste goes when toilets are flushed, you get some looks. Although most people have a general idea of what happens, the whole process is still kind of a mystery. Now, 20% of people who use septic systems know what happens because they’re responsible for the maintenance. It’s the other 80% that don’t quite understand that sewer pipes aren’t magical tunnels to another dimension called “municipal water-treatment plants.” This is where the problem originates, especially for commercial building owners trying to maintain their plumbing lines.

So what are the problems exactly?

Some of the problems have to do with how people use, or rather misuse toilets, and also with aging treatment plants and private property sewer infrastructure. Let’s talk about the first problem.

Toilets Are Not Trashcans

Most people know that you can’t flush anything other than toilet tissue and organic waste. However, there are plenty of companies that produce products that have become widely used and the disposal information given out about these products is misleading, which leads to confusion.

For examples, 50 years ago tampons and personal cleansing wipes weren’t widely used products. Because they weren’t used at much (or at all), they weren’t being flushed and pushed through the sewer system. Today, these products are used all the time and marketed as being flushable. Unfortunately, the sewer systems of yesterday aren’t designed to handle the waste of today, which leads to major clogs in municipal waste-treatment plants.

Commercial buildings also deal with overuse and misuse, especially in venues like stadiums, arenas, and commercial restrooms that serve thousands of people daily. Not only does the drain and sewer system get inundated with feminine hygiene products and wipes, but other things like paper cups, paper towels, diapers, food wrappers, and other objects that should never be flushed. Unfortunately, people don’t treat public restroom facilities with the same cautiousness that they give to their own bathrooms at home. Often, this behavior is the result of believing that commercial bathrooms are able to withstand different types of waste products.

Aging Sewer Infrastructure

The other problem that makes using toilets riskier and riskier from a plumbing perspective is that many of the sewer pipes that travel from private properties to water-treatment plants are brittle and close to failure. Years ago, sewer pipes were designed to handle smaller waste loads. Yet, as populations in cities around the country have increased and rural areas have turned into thriving suburban and urban areas seemingly overnight, the sewer pipes aren’t in good enough shape to handle the heavier waste loads. This means that commercial property owners are finding themselves dealing with sewer breaks more often and facing expensive repairs.

Commercial Sewer Solutions

So, where does this impending sewer crisis leave business owners? Well, it means that commercial property owners need to make their sewer pipes a priority. It means that they can’t just assume that everything is work fine and then deal with the problems when they happen. Operating in this manner puts your business at risk because often when the problems do pop up, they’re very serious and involve expensive repairs and eat into your company’s revenue.

At Street Works Engineering, we work with commercial sewer lines on a daily basis. We deal with large-diameter sewer pipes that are several decades old, and we get up close and personal with some of the nastiest problems. To stay ahead of potentially serious issues, we recommend that all commercial property owners have their sewer lines inspected for signs of damage. We also recommend a thorough sewer line cleaning to get rid of decades’ old sludge. Sewer video inspection services and cleaning services are an invaluable part of keeping your sewer system working properly.

Also, remind employees, customers, and anyone else using the restroom facilities in your building to be careful about how they use the toilets and sinks. Sometimes people just need a little education about how to treat commercial plumbing.

Do you need commercial sewer line repair, replacement, or maintenance service in Los Angeles? Contact Street Works Engineering. Our city-approved and bonded sewer contractors fix underground sewer and water main lines throughout the region. Call us today at (866)-377-4002 to schedule an appointment!