Prevent Backups


PLEASE DO NOT FLUSH wipes, paper towels, diapers, feminine products or anything other than human waste or toilet paper in toilets!

Products labeled as “flushable” or “disposable” are commonly made of fibers that do not break down in the treatment process and often build up in pipes causing messy and costly backups or overflows in your home and our wastewater collection system.

Learn more on this web page. 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), News Releases

EPA Encourages Americans to Only Flush Toilet Paper 

Is it okay to flush disinfecting wipes? 

You can do many things to prevent your lateral from backing up. Remember that the very same things can help to prevent backups in the City main as well. If everyone would be careful about how they dispose of certain products, our systems would be more efficient, cause fewer backups, and cost us all less money.


Please do not pour or discharge any type of oil or grease in your drain. Put it in the trash after it cools. Some people assume that washing grease down the drain with hot water works. This is not true. Grease goes down the drain, cools off and solidifies either in your drain, the lateral line, or in the main sewer. The line will constrict and will stop up.


Plants will seek water and find their way into sewer line cracks. Roots can cause extensive damage. They start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the plant grows so does the root. one way to prevent roots from entering your line is to replace the line with new plastic pipe. 

The other alternative is to be careful about planting greenery around your sewer line. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral, you may have to have them cut periodically by a plumber.

Paper Products

Paper towels, disposable wipes, disposable (and cloth) diapers, and feminine products cause many of the problems in the lateral as well as in the city main. They do not deteriorate quickly, like toilet paper. They become stuck in the lateral/main, causing a sewer backup. These products should also be disposed of in the trash.

Sewer Odor

Another problem a property owner may have is that they can smell sewer odors inside their house or building. There are many ways to prevent this from occurring. Under each drain in your plumbing system, there is a "P-Trap." If there is water in this P-Trap, odors or gasses from the sewer cannot enter through the drain. Periodically check to make sure that unused floor drains, sinks etc. have water in the "P-trap." 

Another way to prevent sewer odor is to ensure that the vents, which are located on your roof, are free from bird nests, leaves, etc. When these vents are clear, the sewer odors will escape through these vents. If you have an odor problem please call the main office at 931-645-7418.

Illegal Plumbing Connections

Do not connect rain gutter down spouts, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any illegal connections.


Please do not flush needles or other sharp items into wastewater collection system. The presence of these needles in the wastewater collection system presents special and possibly deadly problems for wastewater collection and wastewater treatment employees.


Do not open or enter any City manholes. Please do not put anything inside of a manhole. Please do not cover or bury a manhole. The cover for the manhole must remain visible so that when a stoppage occurs the maintenance personnel can find the manhole quickly to perform their maintenance and to prevent possible property damage. 

If you see anyone not associated with Clarksville Gas and Water (CGW) opening a city manhole, please notify CGW or the Police Department immediately. If you see sewage surcharging from a manhole, please contact CGW.