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Clifton Park Town Hall

Sewer Department

In the past year the Town has worked hard to manage it’s newly acquired sewer systems. Much of the sewer equipment has been recently upgraded. The systems are old and remain in need of frequent maintenance and repairs. The Town is committed to preserving sewer services at the highest level possible. Citizen cooperation will be required to keep the sewers operating properly. There maybe occasional inconveniences associated with maintenance and cleaning programs. The information below is provided to minimize potential issues.

Grinder Pumps

If the Alarm Lights . . .

If there is a grinder pump failure, the tank which contains the pump will become too full. An alarm light located in your home will automatically turn on.

You should:

  1. Discontinue water use to prevent overflows
  2. Wait fifteen minutes before taking further action. A high level of water usage will sometimes cause the alarm to come on. This situation is self correcting. If the pump is operating correctly, the wet well will automatically be pumped down and the alarm light will turn off.
  3. If the alarm light is still on after fifteen minutes, call our 24-hour emergency dispatchers at 518-877-6095 or 518-664-7396. The dispatcher will confirm your address and verify if it is a CK owned grinder pump and contact the appropriate contractor to repair your pump.
  4. Never attempt to open the tank cover or the electrical panel box. CAUTION: Electrical shock or damage to the system may occur.

Protect Your Pump

The grinder pump can handle any wastewater that is normally discharged to the sewer from the kitchen, bathroom or laundry. Some chemicals and materials may cause operating problems or safety hazards. It is advisable to check labels on chemicals prior to their disposal. Never connect a sump pump to the grinder pump.

CAUTION: Never put any of the following materials into sinks, toilets or drains:

  • Glass, metal, wood, seafood shells
  • Diapers, socks, rags or cloth of any kind
  • Plastic objects (toys, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Any strong chemical, toxic, caustic, or poisonous substance
  • Degreasing solvents
  • Any explosive or flammable material
  • Gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, paint thinner, antifreeze
  • Lubricating oil or grease
  • Cooking fat (lard, oil, grease)
  • Hair clippings

These materials may clog your home system or create unsafe conditions in your lines and tank.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your low pressure system will provide many years of safe, reliable service.

Nuts and Bolts: Technical Details

A sewage holding tank has been installed underground in your home and a sewage grinder pump is housed in the tank. The tank cover is round and is the only part that shows above the floor. All of the wastewater from your home flows into the buried tank. When the tank fills to a present level, the grinder pump automatically turns on, grinds the waste, and forces it out of the tank and into the sewage system. The grinder pump normally will run for one or two minutes and will automatically turn off when the tank has been emptied. The pump is programmed to operate in cycles, rather than continuously. Cycles are determined by the amount of water used, usually after 20 gallons has entered the tank. During a usual day, the grinder pump will turn on and off to empty the tank 20 to 30 times.

In Case of Power Failure

If there is a power failure which affects your home, your grinder pump will also experience a loss of power and not be able to operate. The grinder pump tank has a certain amount of holding capacity, but interior water use should be severely limited until power has been restored.

While on Vacation

If you are going to be away from home for more than seven days, the following steps should be taken to minimize any stagnating odors. First, run water from an inside tap long enough for the grinder pump to begin working. After the pump turns on, turn the water off. The grinder pump will run until the tank is empty and will shut off. This process will cleanse the pump and leave it filled with a minimum of clean water. Always leave the electrical power on.

Sewer System Cleaning Information

The Town of Clifton Park Sewer Department will be conducting sewer line cleaning on Town owned sewer systems throughout the year to provide residents with the best service possible. The following information has been put together to help this process go smoothly as we clean the mains in your street.


Q. Is the sewer main in my street going to be cleaned?

A. The Town of Clifton Park plans to clean all the Town owned sewer lines and inspect them with a robotic video camera through the next 5 years. Please Check the website and look for signs on your street to notify you when we will be cleaning.

Q. How do you clean sewer lines?

A. The Town will be utilizing high pressure water jets and a high velocity vacuum to scour the lines and remove the grease and debris from the lines. In special cases, the Town may opt to use a “Root Cutter” to clear tree roots or other stubborn debris and obstructions from the lines.

Q. Are there any problems that can arise during these cleaning activities?

A. The answer is YES. While we expect a majority of the cleaning to go by uneventfully, there are occasions where we can run into trouble that could impact you. Below is a list of common problems and steps we request you take to minimize the impact.

  • Water burst in home: Once in a while water pressure may accumulate in the line and briefly flow up a household lateral and overflow a toilet very briefly or come out of a downstairs sink. This is not very common.
  • Preventative steps: Keep toilet seats down especially in downstairs toilets. Place pans or other obstructions over sink drains during the cleaning to prevent any bursts from going any where.
  • Air bursts in homes: Also uncommon, Air pressure can build up in the sewer line and cause toilets to “burp” or air to vent from sinks or washer outlet. This usually results in a temporary odor and noise.
  • Preventative steps: There is not much you can do to prevent this. It is important to verify that your sewer vents on your roof or on the side of your home is clear.
  • Odor in your home: Probably the most common problem we encounter, the jetting process can create a vacuum environment in the sewer lines and actually empty the traps under your sinks, toilets, tubs, etc. The result will be the temporary loss of odor control in your home.
  • Remedy: Very easy to remedy. Simply run water in sinks and tubs to restore traps.

Q. How long does cleaning take?

A. The actual cleaning in front of your home will only last about 30 minutes. In some heavy cleaning areas, the cleaning may last a bit longer.

Q. Will cleaning also clean my lateral?

A. No, sewer laterals benefit very little from the cleaning that occurs in the main. The cleaning will, however; clear the end of your lateral to enhance flow from your home.

Q. What lines do you clean?

A. The town will be cleaning “Gravity Sewer Lines” in the Sewer Districts owned by the Town of Clifton Park. If you have a grinder pump, you’re most likely serviced by a pressure sewer line and will not be cleaned in this manner. Please see our grinder pump section on the website.

Clifton Park Sewer District #1 F.A.Q’s

Q. What happened with CK Sanitary and how does it affect me?

A. On December 1, 2004 the owners of CK Sanitary Systems, Inc abandoned the sewer system to the Town of Clifton Park and the Town of Malta. This action forced the Towns of Clifton Park and Malta to take over the operation and maintenance of the system. As with any transfer in ownership there will be some changes. Some of the more notable changes you will notice are as follows:

  • 2005 CK Bills distributed and collected by the Town of Clifton Park
  • Contact phone numbers may be different than what you used to call:
    • 24hour emergency numbers 518-877-6095 or pager 343-0662
    • Daytime phone (non-emergency) 518-348-7313
  • Saratoga County Sewer District #1 is graciously assisting us with 24 hour telephone dispatch.
  • New Sewer District Formations in Clifton Park and Malta in 2006
    • Sewer bills on your County property tax bill in 2006, saving mailing and billing costs.
    • Allows for possible future improvements to be bonded if necessary.

While this highlights some of the more significant changes, you may notice since the abandonment, the Town of Clifton Park and Malta are committed to a seamless transition and excellent customer service. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact us at 518-348-7313 or email.

Q. What am I paying for?
A. Clifton Park Sewer is a complex network of almost 60 miles of pipe, 8 pump stations, and upwards of 550 grinder pumps. Most people never think twice about sewage and where it goes as long as it leaves there homes. Your sewer payments are necessary to provide for pump replacement and repairs, blockage removal, sewer line cleaning, sewer line replacement, electric bills, fuel (generators), etc. Throughout the year there will be a variety of emergencies, failures, and other unexpected issues that need to be dealt with promptly.

Q. Does Clifton Park Sewer District #1 own a wastewater treatment plant?
A. No, CK Sanitary consists of infrastructure to transport waste from CK Sanitary customers to the Saratoga County Sewer District #1 System for processing.

Q. Where is the wastewater treatment plant that my waste travels to?
A. The Saratoga County Sewer District #1 wastewater treatment plant is located in Mechanicville, New York.

Q. Why is there a sewage pump station in my front yard, neighborhood, or Cul de Sac?
A. There are 8 pump stations located throughout the town to pump sewage in areas where gravity transportation is not an option. Pump Stations are typically in low areas of the system and will pump sewage up hill to a gravity line and continues toward the wastewater treatment plant. These stations do not process sewage; however they must be functional 24 hours/day. These stations have alarm systems associated with them and in a couple situations a generator to provide back up power in the event of a power outage. You may see a red light flashing at a station once in a great while. This indicates an alarm has likely been transmitted via alarm dialer. If you notice a flashing red light especially at the Broadleaf or Maple Ridge pump stations please notify us immediately at 877-6095.

Grinder Pumps

Q. What do I do if my grinder pump is making noises, leaking, overflowing or light is flashing?


  1. Call (518) 877-6095 at any time to let us know that there is a problem with your grinder pump.
  2. Cease water usage in your home; try to keep wastewater to a minimum to prevent an overflow of the well.

Q. What is a grinder pump?

A. A grinder pump is a pump located in a tank that receives wastewater from your home. The pumps send the wastewater to either a pressure sewer line or a gravity sewer line at the street. We are responsible for maintaining certain grinder pumps within the old CK System at no cost to our customers. (See list of CK owned Grinder Pumps)

Q. Is there anything I should do to maintain my grinder pump?

A. Grinder pumps are designed to provide years of maintenance free service, however, there are some things you should know to ensure the longevity of your pump.

Gravity Sewers

Q. I have a gravity sewer, what am I responsible for in the event of a sewer backup?

A. If you have gravity sewer that is backing up, it is likely a blockage in the lateral leaving your home. While CK Sanitary is responsible for the sewer main in the street, blockages (grease, roots, etc.) in a residential gravity sewer lateral is the responsibility of the homeowner. If contacted, our personnel will inspect the sewer in the street to verify it is operating correctly and not causing the back up into your home. Most plumbers are equipped to handle this type of emergency, should it be deemed to be a problem on your property.

General Sewer Information

Q.Can I hook my sump pump up to the sanitary sewer?

A. Absolutely Not! Sump pump hook ups to any sanitary sewer in Clifton Park are illegal. If you have a sump pump hooked up to the sewer, you should remove it immediately and re-route it to the exterior of your home. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this important issue please contact 348-7313 or email.

Q. Can I dump gasoline or other household hazardous materials down the drain?

A. It is never acceptable to dispose of any hazardous chemicals down the drain. Explosive chemicals such as gasoline pose a significant threat to sanitary sewers and should never be dumped down the drain. Explosive vapors can build up in sewers and create a hazardous condition, in addition, these vapors pose a threat to the technicians and contractors that maintain the system and could prove fatal in certain situations. The Town of Clifton Park conducts a Household Hazardous Waste Day annually where these items can be properly disposed of. The Town of Malta also participates in this program.

National Night Out in Clifton Park, Tuesday August 2, 2016

Clifton Park will be celebrating the 11th Annual National Night Out Against Crime event in the Clifton Common on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Clifton Common Basketball Courts. Children ages 6 to 12 are invited to join the Town and our local first-responders […]

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