Toilet ‘blow back’ could be an issue for some in Durham for the next 2 months

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — City of Durham officials are warning residents to keep their toilet lids closed for the next two months in order to avoid a potentially messy situation.

The city will be performing routine cleaning and inspections of a section of Durham’s sanitary sewer system beginning Monday in the American Tobacco district. The cleaning will take approximately two months, officials said.

Part of the project involves “jetting of sewer lines.” According to officials, “Jetting is a cleaning method that uses pressurized water sprayed through specialized hoses,” which can result in air escaping “via inadequately vented plumbing fixtures.”


If that happens, it will cause “blow back,” which is when toilet or sewer water splashes out of the toilet and releases foul odors into the bathroom as well, officials said.

Water Management customers are being told to keep their toilet lids closed in order to avoid potentially having sewage blown out of their toilet and into their bathroom.

“Get you a box of gloves, and prepare yourself,” said Durham resident Diane Hawthorne. “I am a very clean person. I have plenty of sanitizer and plenty of bleach.”

The sewer maintenance will also result in temporary lane changes in the American Tobacco district.

Lane closures will occur this week at the following locations:
West Peabody Street, Gregson Street between West Main and Chapel Hill streets, Memorial Street, Burch Avenue, Duke Street between Chapel Hill and Memorial streets, Chapel Hill Street between William Vickers Avenue and Ramseur Street, William Vickers Avenue, and Jackson Street.

For more information on the cleaning and a map of the work, click here.

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