Sanitary Sewer Inspection and Cleaning Services

The Department of Water Management (DWM) has contracted with Hydrostructures, PA to conduct sanitary sewer cleaning and inspection at various locations throughout the City’s sewer service area beginning in July 2021 and continuing for a period of approximately one year.

Sewer cleaning and inspection are among tasks performed in-house by the City; however, there are sewer mains in locations that are difficult or impossible to access with equipment and vehicles used by City staff. This contract will clean and inspect roughly 20 miles of mains and manholes in busy City streets or those located off-road and alongside creeks and wetlands.

During this project, cleaning crews will access the sewers through existing manholes located in streets, right-of-ways, and easements.  No disruptions to sewer service are anticipated during cleaning and inspection; however, it is recommended that residents leave their toilet seats down when not being used, in the improbable event that back pressure from the cleaning causes toilets to bubble.

A map showing the anticipated cleaning and inspection schedule is provided. Door hangers in English and Spanish will be distributed seven days prior to any work anticipated in your area.

Upcoming work - April 18-May 11

Hydrostructures will be conducting sewer line cleaning and camera inspections for this project in the Downtown Loop starting Monday, April 18. The is anticipated to last approximately one month. 

Lane closures will be necessary in some areas to access manholes in the streets.

Maps of the work areas are included below:

  1. Map of Area 1: 4/18-4/20 lane closures along N. Roxboro Rd between E. Parrish Street and Gray Avenue from 7pm to 6am. Closures are anticipated to last no longer than 3 hours.

  2. Map of Area 2: 4/20-4/21 lane closures along Holloway Street between N. Roxboro Rd and Elizabeth Street from 7pm to 6 am. Closures are anticipated to last no longer than 3 hours.

  3. Map of Area 6 4/25-4/29 lane closures along E. Ramseur, E. Main, and E. Parrish streets between Dillard Street and Corcoran Street from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Closures are anticipated to last no longer than three hours.

  4. Map of Area 5 5/2-5/11 lane closures along W. Main, W. Chapel Hill, and W. Morgan streets between N. Mangum and Morris streets from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Closures are anticipated to last no longer than three hours.



The City owns and maintains approximately 1,200 miles of sanitary sewer mains.  Cleaning and inspection of these mains are vital tools in maintaining and evaluating the City’s sewer collection system.  Condition assessment enhances the ability of the City to make technically sound judgments regarding management of these assets. Sewer cleaning is also a requirement for compliance with the City’s wastewater collection permit issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).


Sewer cleaning is primarily conducted through hydro-jetting. Hydro-jetting is a sewer cleaning process that utilizes a low volume of water under high pressure. This is a standard industry approach designed to scour the walls of underground pipes, removing potential obstructions (e.g., grease, roots, sediment) from the interior of the pipe.  Mechanical cleaning equipment is used as needed if hydro-jetting is not sufficient to properly clear the sewer line.

Once the sewer pipe segments have been cleaned, a robotic camera is sent underground for video inspection of each pipe segment.  Crews observe the inside of the sewer pipes making digital notes via computer attached to the camera to assess and rate each segment's condition. This inspection data is then entered into the City’s asset management system with a "score" based on the condition, which allows the City to schedule pipe maintenance, repairs and replacements as necessary. The assessments are made consistent using the Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) rating system, which is standard practice in the industry. 


Cleaning and video inspection each pipe segment can take from a few hours to a few days. Parking and traffic impacts will be minimal in the area, with appropriate controls and signage in place.

Project map

Map of Department of Water Management Sanitary Sewer Inspection and Cleaning Project for April 2013 Opens in new window

Contact Info:

City of Durham Water Management: 
Harmon Henderson
(919) 560-4381, ext. 35285
[email protected]

Hydrostructures, PA: 
Doug Greenlee
Project Manager
[email protected]

Kyle Stocum
Crew Leader
[email protected]