Sanitary Sewer Cleaning and Televising

The City of North St. Paul has contracted with Visu-Sewer to clean and televise the existing sanitary sewer in your neighborhood. They are scheduled to begin work on Monday, September 19. This work consists of a small crew operating a pressurized jet and vacuum system, which typically involves one large truck. The crew will access the sewer lines from manholes within the roadway, and they will have traffic control such as cones, flashers, etc. set up around the work zones.
The cleaning and televising are scheduled to be completed over a period of one to two weeks. Please reference the attached map for the project’s location. While they are performing operations on McKnight Road, there will be no parking allowed only along the easterly side of the road. The contractor’s working hours are:

  • Monday through Friday – 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday and Holidays – No work, unless special circumstances arise, and work is authorized. 

Cleaning and televising are necessary in advance of any future repairs to confirm the appropriate rehabilitation type and location. Please review the information below for an explanation of the cleaning process and potential impacts and recommended actions for residents to perform.

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Once on the Alerts page: select>street and utility projects>Sanitary Sewer Project 22. Simply provide your preferred email, cell phone and/or landline and language. Or, if you prefer, text NSPSS22 to 38276. The City of North St. Paul will send you timely, project-specific updates.

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This project was completed the week of February 6, 2023


Cleaning Process

During the cleaning process, sewer lines can develop air pressure or a partial vacuum. Usually, any excess air pressure or vacuum will dissipate through the plumbing vents, but occasionally there are facilities with inadequate plumbing vents (i,e, no vents, undersized vents, or obstructed vents). In these situations, air pressure could escape through the toilet., floor drains, sink, tub, or shower drains causing water to splash out. Vacuums can also develop that could draw the water out of the fixture traps causing an unpleasant odor. This is called "blow back."

What can I do to prevent "blow back" into my home during the cleaning process?

We have found the best way to minimize blow back is to cover all floor drains with plastic (or an old towel that can be thrown away)and place a weight on the plastic (or old towel), cover all toilets with plastic and place the lid on the plastic. To deal with any unpleasant odors, fun water into each drain to fill the traps. The actual cleaning process from manhole to manhole does not take long, although you may see the equipment in the area for extended periods of time due to the equipment set up and tear down. The cleaning that will affect your homes should not take longer than a few hours.


What to do if you experience "blow back"?

Recovery from a "blow back" event is simply a matter of removing any debris and cleaning of the floors, toilets, sinks, bach, or showers that may have been impacted. You may continue normal use. Sewage "blow back" event that involves only the discharge of water to walls or surfaces do not result in any immediate health risk. However, it is important that any sewage-contaminated water, any resulting debris and surfaces that have come in contact with this water be promptly and thoroughly cleaned. This will require the removal of any debris, the cleaning of the surfaces with a soap solution, and the disinfection of hard surfaces with a diluted household bleach/water solution. Regular household cleaning products are all that are needed. We recommend the use of rubber gloves. Never mix ammonia and chlorine products such as household bleach.