Rice Lake Utilities

The Power of Local Ownership

Sanitary Sewer Collection System

The Rice Lake Utilities Wastewater department is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the collection system infrastructure and the sanitary lift stations to ensure uninterrupted collection of wastewater. Sanitary sewer disposal needs are served by Rice Lake Utilities.

The City of Rice Lake has 68 miles of sanitary sewer lines. Most of the lines are in the streets or alleys. Some run through utility easements in grassy areas. Each year, the City cleans approximately 75% of the City's sanitary sewer lines. Lines requiring a higher level of maintenance are cleaned more frequently. This routine maintenance helps to prevent blockages and backups.

The sanitary sewer lines are cleaned using high performance sewer cleaning equipment. A cleaning nozzle is propelled from one manhole to the next using water under high pressure. The nozzle is then pulled back to the starting manhole. As the nozzle is pulled back, water scours the inside of the sanitary sewer pipe removing scale, debris and roots. Any debris in the pipe is pulled back with the water. The debris is removed from the manhole with a vacuum unit. If heavy roots are found, they are cut with a root cutter. This process is repeated on every sewer line cleaned.

Sewer laterals can be blocked by grease, wipes, and roots. The private sewer lateral, including the connection to the public main, is the homeowner's responsibility.

Sewer Backups

Property owners experiencing a sewer backup may call the following number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, after hours, weekends and holidays:

Utility crews will be dispatched to assess the situation. If it is determined that no blockage or restrictions exist in the City's sanitary sewer system, the property owner is advised to contact a professional plumber or drain cleaning service to have the private sewer service inspected. The Utilities cannot make a recommendation for drain cleaning services. A property owner may wish to obtain several estimates.

Property owners should be aware, if the problem is in the private sewer line, the property owner is responsible for clearing any blockage in the service line between the home and the City sanitary sewer main. This includes debris and tree roots. The property owner is also responsible for cleaning and repairing any damage done to the property by the backup.

The Utilities is not automatically liable for blockages in the City’s sanitary sewer system. The Utilities is only liable for those damages if the backup was caused by the Utilities’ negligence.

Many homeowners' insurance policies exclude damage resulting from sewer backups. However, some insurance companies do provide sewer backup coverage. If you are concerned about the possibility of a sewer backup and want to insure that you are covered, the Utilities urges you to check with your home insurer regarding the availability of sewer backup insurance.

Preventing Sewer Backups

Property owners can do many things to prevent their service from backing up. Remember, the very same things can help prevent backups in the City main as well.

Sewer Odors

Floor and sink drains usually have water filling the bottom of the drain trap which acts as a barrier between the air in the sewer line and the air in your home. When a drain trap becomes dry, sewer odors can enter into the residence. If you experience sewer odors in your home, run water down your drain.

Sump Pumps

If you use a sump pump in your basement, it is illegal to drain the water into the basement sanitary sewer drain or laundry tub. Sump pumps must be discharged outside of the house to the yard or drainway, that will prevent the water from draining directly to the street. Call the Wastewater Department if you need more information.

Utility Billing Information

For questions on utility billing, please contact Rice Lake Utilities at 715-234-7004.

Other Sanitary Sewer Related Information

The City’s Sewer Use Ordinance prohibits certain discharges into their sanitary sewer lines. 

Equipment Used in Sewer Maintenance Process

The Wastewater department may use the following types of equipment when performing inspection and maintenance of its sanitary sewer system: