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Wastewater services

Strathcona County Utilities operates and maintains all underground sewer systems for Sherwood Park and the hamlets of Ardrossan, Josephburg and Collingwood Cove. This includes the infrastructure serviced by low-pressure sewer systems from the property up to and including the lift station and lagoons.

Did you know:

Strathcona County in accordance with the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission now requires a permit for discharge of non-domestic waste? This means that before you dump or discharge large amounts of wastewater down the sewer you need to contact the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission to gain permission.
For more information or to fill out the application visit Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commision

How does the sewer system work?

The sewer system collects wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial buildings and transports it to the Capital Region Wastewater Treatment Plant. Your sewer service line connects the building sewer to the mains in the street.

How sewer systems work  

Wastewater terms

Service line (service lateral): The piping that connects your house or building sewer to the wastewater main.
Mainline: The portion of the wastewater system that collects and transports wastewater to the treatment plant. Typically located in or near the street.
Access point: The cleanout or other point of access to the wastewater service line for the purposes of inspection and cleaning.
Front floor cleanout: A cleanout or access point that is located in the floor, typically near the front wall of the house.

Wastewater services FAQs

Why do sewers back up?

The most common causes for a sewer backup include:

  • a sag in the line or low lying areas causing grease, solids and certain types of detergents to harden or build up
  • broken or shifted pipes
  • tree roots entering into the line (a major factor in blockages everywhere)
  • ground water seeping into the pipe at joints which leaves behind minerals that build up over time
What do I do if my sewer backs up?

Call Strathcona County Utilities’ emergency response line at 780-467-7785. You will be connected to either our customer service representative or answering service. An operator will be notified of your request and contact you within one hour for more details prior to responding.

There may be a charge for the service call if the cause of the sewer backup is strictly related to a private property issue with no contributing factors on public property.

How will you determine what is causing the backup?

The responding operator will insert a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera down the service line to see what is causing the sewer problem. The camera is inserted into the access point inside the house, usually below the main bathroom or the front floor cleanout.

Access into the house is required because usually the camera cannot enter the service line from a manhole.

Once the problem has been identified, County staff will work with you to help reduce the possibility of future sewer backups.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Inspection – Request

What happens if I have reoccurring backups?

You will be automatically be placed on a preventative maintenance program (unless the cause is strictly a problem on private property). These programs may help reduce future backups.

The Root Control program: a chemical is applied to the service line, which kills the roots within the line, restoring full pipe flow. This will not harm roots outside of the pipe or in the tree. The chemical does not prevent root regrowth; it only eliminates roots that have come into contact with the product.

The Maintenance Cleaning program: work usually entails a combination of power auger cleaning and/or CCTV inspection.

Will cutting down a tree prevent root growth?

Cutting down a tree may not always help as roots can continue to grown for a period after the tree is cut. Furthermore, roots travel deep, so it can be difficult to determine which tree is causing the problem.

If you would like a tree located on public property to be removed, Strathcona County policies state that you put your request in writing and send it to:

Strathcona County Utilities
2001 Sherwood Drive
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 3W7
Attention: Supervisor, Construction & Customer Service

Your request will then be forwarded to the County Horticulture/Arboriculture Foreman for review on a site-by-site basis.

What can I do to decrease my chances of a sewer backup?
  • Do not flush large or absorbent items (such as feminine hygiene products, paper towels, baby wipes and flushable wipes) down the toilet.
  • Do not use a garburator for food scraps as the organic material can build up in the pipe and cause a blockage. Compost or put your organics into your green cart.
  • Do not pour grease, oils and fat down your drain as it can clog your pipes. Instead, let them cool and then place them in your organics cart.
Do garburators negatively affect the sewer lines?

Yes. Garburators increase the amount of materials sent to landfill and increase wastewater costs.

When you dispose of kitchen scraps using a garburator, they end at the wastewater treatment plant where they are removed by screens and sent to the landfill. The biodegradable benefits of organic materials are lost at this point and the material cannot be composted.

Garburators also cause organic material to collect in the pipes over time and can cause sewer backups.

Garburators also use extra water, so you are paying for the extra water you use to flush organic material down the sink and for the extra waste water that is leaving your home.

What other options are there to help prevent sewer backups?

Strathcona County can provide recommendations and cost options for corrective/repair procedures to the service line. 

The service line may be replaced or a liner may be put inside the line.

Strathcona County coordinates these repair activities for both the private and public property portions of the service line. The County acts as an inspector to ensure the work done by the contractor is effective and timely.

Under current policy, Strathcona County may contribute half (to a maximum of $750) towards the homeowner’s costs if there are trees present on County property that may be contributing to the problem.

To receive a quote for this program, write to:

Quotation Request
c/o Strathcona County Utilities
2001 Sherwood Drive
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 3W7
Attention: Supervisor, Construction & Customer Service

County staff will follow up by assessing your property and providing a written quotation that outlines the work to be completed and options for rehabilitation (if possible) and the costs. 

To proceed, please contact the Utilities department.

Further information
780-467-7785

Last updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Page ID: 39473