Inflow And Infiltration

One of the biggest problems effecting wastewater systems across the country is ground or storm water getting in to the sewer system. This extra water can fill up sewer mains leaving little room for actual wastewater and cause inconveniences such as toilets not flushing properly or water in a sink or tub draining very slowly. In more severe cases, sewer mains can actually overflow with water coming out from under manhole covers. In the worst cases, the sewer can actually start to flow out of service line clean outs or backup into tubs or other low spots in a home. Sarcoxie’s sewer system is no different.


Most I&I issues occur during severe storms or long periods of precipitation.

Inflow is surface water that rapidly flows in to the wastewater system as a result of rainstorms, snow or ice melts. Inflow can get in to sewer mains from faulty manhole covers and improper openings in the sewer system such as broken pipes or open service line clean outs. It can also come from illegal connections such as floor drains in basements, sump pumps plumbed in to the sewer, and rain gutters being plumbed to drain in to the sewer system.

Infiltration is groundwater that leaks in to the wastewater system as a result of holes or breaks in sewer mains or service lines, joint failures or failures where the service line connects to the sewer main.

Trying to reduce I&I is important. Public Works tries to find where water can get into the wastewater system by conducting periodic smoke tests. A special smoke is injected into the sewer main and then the area is inspected to see if smoke can be seen leaking out. Points where smoke leaks out of the sewer system shows where water can leak in.

To help protect yourself and your neighbors from the consequences of I&I:

  • Make sure your service line clean out has a good cap that is screwed into the line.

  • Make sure your rain gutters drain out on to the ground instead of just disappearing underground.

  • If your crawlspace or basement has a floor drain, make sure it doesn’t drain into the sewer system.

  • If you use a sump pump to drain storm water out of your basement or crawlspace, make sure the water is pumped onto the ground outside and not into a sewer line.

  • Contact City Hall if you have any questions or need help determining if your property is making I&I worse for your neighbors.