Sewer Line Cleaning

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Roles and Responsibilities 

The sewer system that serves your property starts in your home or business, connects to your toilets, sinks, and showers and then leaves your property where it exits your property and enters a City of Lynnwood sewer main. When your sewer backs up and no longer works, we need to hear from you. Property owners can be confused about the different parts of the sewer system and who has the responsibility to clean and maintain them. The following is the City’s policy on this issue. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 425-670-5200 if you experience any problems with your sewer or have questions about this policy. We can help you through the process to get your pipes flowing again and in some cases, the City may be responsible to fix the problem.

Property Owner Responsibilities

  • All aspects of cleaning and maintaining building side sewers (red lines in picture to right).
  • Cleaning of the service lateral that serves their property (orange lines in picture to right).
  • To have an installed, maintained, and easily accessible at ground level Sewer Clean Out. This needs to be at the edge of either the Public Right of Way or Easement (blue dot in picture to right).
  • If the property owner has a blockage within the Service Lateral that they cannot clear, and there is an accessible sewer clean out at the property line, then the City will clear the blockage. If the blockage is caused by pipe failure, the City will absorb the cost of the line clearing and perform maintenance. If the blockage was caused by a build-up of material or by root intrusion, but the line itself is structurally sound, the City will charge the property owner for the cleaning service. In the case where no clean out exists at the property line or if such clean out exists but is not easily accessible, the City will first require the property owner to install a sewer clean out at the property line or bring the existing clean out up to grade. Then they can use the sewer clean out to try and clear the lateral. The installation of a clean out is necessary to clean the lateral and determine if structural deficiencies exist in the lateral. If the lateral still cannot be cleared by the property owner, the City will then clean and/or maintain the lateral and will charge the property owner for any cleaning of the lateral necessary but will not charge for costs associated with maintaining the lateral.
  • If structural deficiencies in the sewer lateral exist due to actions taken by the property owner or a third party, the City reserves the right to pursue relief for damages to the side sewer according to the Lynnwood Municipal Code or using other legal means.

City of Lynnwood Responsibilities

  • Maintaining service laterals (orange lines in picture above).
  • Cleaning and maintaining sewer mains (green lines in picture above)

Definition of terms

  • "Cleaning" means the routine removal of accumulated material from the sewer system (includes removal of invasive roots).
  • "Maintaining" means the repair of structural deficiencies in sewer lines that restore the system to design specifications.
  • "Public Easement" means a defined or proscribed interest of the City of Lynnwood in land owned privately to maintain a City-owned sewer main.
  • "Right-of-Way" means the real property that contains City of Lynnwood owned and controlled public streets and utilities, including sewer mains, that has a defined property line for adjacent properties.
  • "Sewer Clean Out" means a section of side sewer pipe that goes off of the side sewer and comes to the ground surface where it is capped. The purpose of the Sewer Clean Out is to allow access for cleaning and television systems to enter the side sewer.
  • "Service Lateral" means the portion of side sewer that lies either within public right-of-way or an easement containing the City's sewer main. Where the sewer main lies in a public easement and it is unclear where the edge of easement lies, the service lateral may also be defined as the stub.
  • "Sewer Main" means a publicly owned sewer conveyance line contained either in right-of-way or public easement.
  • "Side Sewer" means the privately owned portion of the sewer that serves a building, lying between the building and the edge of right-of-way where the sewer main lies in right-of-way, or the edge of the easement, where the sewer main lies in an easement.
  • "Stub" means that portion of the service lateral, of varying lengths, that connects directly to the City sewer main and that was installed for the adjacent private property to attach their sewer lateral to in the future.


Questions? Contact the Utilities Supervisor at 425-670-5241 or