In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of sewer jetting, its significance in New York’s unique landscape, and how businesses and buildings stand to benefit from it. We’ll also delve into the specifics of the jetting process and provide insights on when and how often it should be done.


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Outline of Topics Covered:

  1. What is Sewer Jetting
  2. The Growing Need for Sewer Jetting in NYC
  3. Businesses and Buildings that Benefit Most from Routine Sewer Jetting
  4. The Science Behind Sewer Jetting
  5. Step-by-Step Guide to the Jetting Process
  6. Benefits of Regular Sewer Jetting
  7. FAQ: Answering Common Questions about Sewer Jetting
  8. Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Building’s Plumbing Health

What is Sewer Jetting?

Photo of a sewer jet mounted inside of a plumbing truck.

Sewer jetting, often referred to as hydro jetting, is a specialized plumbing technique used to clean and maintain sewer lines and drainage systems. Imagine a power washer, but for the inside of your pipes. This method employs high-pressure water streams to dislodge and remove obstructions, such as tree roots, grease, sediment, and other debris that can accumulate over time.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how it works:


  1. Access Point: A plumber identifies an access point, usually a cleanout, to introduce the jetting hose into the sewer line.
  2. High-Pressure Water: The jetting machine releases water at pressures that can range from 1,500 to 4,000 psi, depending on the severity of the blockage and the size of the pipe.
  3. Clearing Obstructions: The force of the water scours the inside walls of the pipes, breaking apart and flushing out obstructions. Specialized nozzles can also direct water streams to tackle specific blockages or clean pipe walls more thoroughly.
  4. Safe and Efficient: Unlike chemical drain cleaners, sewer jetting uses only water, making it an environmentally friendly and safe method for pipe cleaning. Additionally, the process is efficient, often restoring pipes to near-original capacity.


While the concept might sound straightforward, the effectiveness of sewer jetting lies in its precision. The water’s pressure must be calibrated correctly to ensure it clears blockages without causing damage to the pipes. Too little pressure, and the blockage might remain; too much, and the pipes could be damaged.


The Growing Need for Sewer Jetting in NYC

New York City is a marvel of urban planning and infrastructure. However, beneath the surface, the city’s plumbing and sewer systems tell a story of age, wear, and increasing demand. As the city grows and evolves, so does the strain on its underground networks, making maintenance techniques like sewer jetting not just beneficial, but essential.


Here are some factors contributing to the rising need for sewer jetting in NYC:

  1. Aging Infrastructure: Many of the city’s sewer lines and drainage systems have been in place for decades, if not longer. Over time, these pipes can degrade, leading to cracks, leaks, and blockages. Regular jetting can help alleviate these issues by clearing out obstructions and improving flow.

  2. Increased Urban Density: As more buildings rise and populations grow, the demand on the city’s sewer systems intensifies. More people mean more waste, more grease, and more potential for blockages. Routine jetting ensures these systems can handle the increased load.

  3. Grease and Debris: NYC is home to countless restaurants, eateries, and food establishments. While delicious for us, the grease and food particles that often find their way into the sewer system can lead to significant blockages. Sewer jetting effectively breaks down and removes these greasy build-ups.

  4. Tree Root Intrusions: Trees are a vital part of the city’s ecosystem, providing shade and greenery amidst the concrete jungle. However, their roots can infiltrate sewer lines in search of water, leading to blockages. Jetting can cut through these roots, restoring the pipe’s functionality.

  5. Environmental Considerations: With a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility, NYC is moving away from chemical solutions for plumbing maintenance. Sewer jetting, using only water, aligns with this eco-friendly approach, offering an effective yet environmentally conscious solution.

  6. Proactive Maintenance: As the saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Addressing minor blockages and issues through regular jetting can prevent more significant problems down the line, saving time, money, and potential disruptions.


For NYC property owners, managers, and residents, understanding the increasing importance of sewer jetting is crucial. It’s not just about addressing immediate issues but ensuring the longevity and reliability of the city’s vital underground networks.

Businesses and Buildings that Benefit Most from Routine Sewer Jetting

  1. Restaurants and Eateries: As mentioned earlier, the food industry is a significant contributor to sewer blockages due to the grease and food particles that often end up in the drains. Regular jetting can prevent these build-ups, ensuring smooth operations and avoiding potential health code violations.

  2. Apartment Complexes and High-Rises: These buildings house multiple families or individuals, leading to increased strain on plumbing systems. Routine jetting ensures that residents don’t face frequent plumbing issues, enhancing tenant satisfaction.

  3. Older Historical Buildings: NYC is home to many historical structures, some dating back over a century. The plumbing in these buildings, while sturdy, is often more susceptible to wear and tear. Regular maintenance, including jetting, can help preserve their integrity.

  4. Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities: In these establishments, hygiene and uninterrupted services are paramount. Sewer jetting can prevent unexpected blockages, ensuring a sanitary environment and continuous care for patients.

  5. Schools and Educational Institutions: With hundreds or even thousands of students and staff, schools can put considerable strain on their plumbing systems. Regular maintenance ensures that institutions remain operational and students have a conducive learning environment.

  6. Industrial Facilities: Factories and industrial units often discharge waste that can be challenging for regular sewer systems to handle. Jetting can effectively clear out heavy-duty blockages, ensuring smooth operations.

  7. Public Buildings and Facilities: Places like libraries, government buildings, and transit hubs see a high footfall daily. Ensuring their plumbing systems are in top shape is crucial for public convenience and safety.

  8. Shopping Malls and Retail Centers: With numerous stores, food courts, and public restrooms, shopping centers can benefit immensely from routine sewer maintenance. It ensures shoppers have a pleasant experience and retailers can operate without disruptions.

For these establishments, and many others in NYC, routine sewer jetting isn’t just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. By understanding their specific needs and challenges, building managers and business owners can make informed decisions about their plumbing maintenance schedules.

The Science Behind Sewer Jetting

Sewer jetting, often referred to as hydro jetting, is more than just a high-pressure water stream. It’s a combination of force and flow, meticulously designed to tackle the toughest of blockages while preserving the integrity of the pipes. Let’s break down the science that makes this method so effective:


  1. Hydrodynamics at Play: At its core, sewer jetting utilizes the principles of hydrodynamics. When water is forced through a nozzle at high pressure, it creates a jetting action. This action not only breaks down obstructions but also scours the inner walls of the pipe, removing accumulated debris and residues.

  2. Force vs. Flow: Two primary factors determine the effectiveness of sewer jetting: force (measured in PSI – pounds per square inch) and flow (measured in GPM – gallons per minute). While force breaks down obstructions, flow ensures the debris is washed away. Striking the right balance between these two is crucial. Too much force without adequate flow can damage pipes, while too much flow without sufficient force might not clear blockages effectively.

  3. Nozzle Design: The nozzle is a critical component in the jetting process. It’s not just an outlet; it’s a precision tool. Different nozzles are designed for various tasks, from cutting through tree roots to clearing out grease or mineral build-up. The angle and size of the nozzle’s jets determine the direction and concentration of the water stream.

  4. Temperature Matters: Warm or hot water can be more effective in breaking down certain types of blockages, especially grease or oil-based obstructions. The heat helps liquefy the grease, making it easier to flush out.

  5. Eco-friendly Solution: Unlike chemical drain cleaners that can harm the environment and corrode pipes, sewer jetting uses plain water. It’s an environmentally friendly solution that doesn’t introduce harmful substances into the city’s sewer system.

  6. Versatility: Sewer jetting isn’t just for blockages. The method is versatile enough to handle various tasks, from routine maintenance cleanings to addressing more severe obstructions or even descaling pipes.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Jetting Process

Navigating New York City’s plumbing systems requires precision, expertise, and the right tools. Sewer jetting, with its efficiency and thoroughness, stands out as a preferred method for many professionals. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process:


  1. Preliminary Inspection:

    • Purpose: Before any jetting begins, it’s essential to understand the nature and location of the blockage or buildup.
    • How It’s Done: A specialized camera is inserted into the sewer line, providing real-time visuals of the pipe’s interior. This camera inspection reveals obstructions, pipe damage, or any other anomalies.
    • What to Look For: Clear signs of blockages, cracks in the pipe, tree root intrusions, or heavy sediment buildup.
  2. Accessing the Cleanout:

    • Purpose: The cleanout is an entry point to the sewer line, allowing for easier access to the pipe.
    • How It’s Done: Locate the cleanout point, which is typically a capped pipe protruding from the ground or wall. Remove the cap to access the sewer line.
    • What to Look For: Ensure the cleanout is free from obstructions and is large enough for the jetting equipment.
  3. Setting Up the Jetting Equipment:

    • Purpose: Proper setup ensures the jetting process is efficient and safe.
    • How It’s Done: Connect the jetting hose to the machine, ensuring all connections are secure. Attach the appropriate nozzle based on the blockage type.
    • What to Look For: Check for any signs of wear or damage on the hose and ensure the water source is adequately connected.
  4. Initiating the Jetting Process:

    • Purpose: To clear out obstructions and clean the pipe’s interior walls.
    • How It’s Done: Slowly feed the jetting hose into the cleanout, starting the machine and allowing water to flow at the recommended pressure. The force of the water will propel the hose further into the pipe.
    • What to Look For: Monitor the hose’s progress and be alert for any resistance, which could indicate a significant blockage or obstruction.
  5. Thorough Cleaning:

    • Purpose: To ensure all residues and obstructions are entirely flushed out.
    • How It’s Done: Once the hose reaches the blockage, it’s pulled back slowly, ensuring the water jets thoroughly clean the pipe’s walls and break down obstructions.
    • What to Look For: Consistent water flow from the exit point indicates a successful cleaning. If the water flow is still restricted, additional passes might be necessary.
  6. Post-Jetting Inspection:

    • Purpose: To confirm the blockage has been cleared and the pipe is in good condition.
    • How It’s Done: Re-insert the camera into the sewer line for a post-cleaning inspection.
    • What to Look For: A clear, obstruction-free pipe with no signs of damage or residual buildup.
  7. Wrapping Up:

    • Purpose: To ensure the system is back to its operational state.
    • How It’s Done: Turn off the jetting machine, disconnect the hose, and securely cap the cleanout. Clean and store the equipment.
    • What to Look For: Ensure there are no leaks or water pooling around the cleanout area.

By following this detailed process, sewer jetting provides a comprehensive cleaning solution, especially vital for the dense infrastructure of New York City. It not only addresses blockages but also ensures the longevity and efficiency of the plumbing system.

Benefits of Regular Sewer Jetting

  1. Consistent Flow and Efficiency:

    • What It Means: Just like a highway free of traffic jams, a clean sewer line ensures wastewater flows without hindrance.
    • Why It’s Important: Regular jetting prevents the gradual buildup of debris, ensuring your plumbing system operates at its peak efficiency. This means no unexpected backups or slow drains.
  2. Extended Lifespan of Plumbing Systems:

    • What It Means: By routinely cleaning and maintaining your sewer lines, you’re essentially giving your plumbing system a longer, healthier life.
    • Why It’s Important: Replacing or repairing sewer lines, especially in a city like New York, can be costly and disruptive. Regular maintenance can save you from these unexpected expenses.
  3. Prevention of Severe Blockages:

    • What It Means: Think of jetting as a regular health check-up for your pipes, catching potential issues before they escalate.
    • Why It’s Important: Severe blockages can lead to overflows, property damage, and even health hazards. Regular jetting acts as a preventive measure against these major issues.
  4. Cost Savings:

    • What It Means: While there’s a cost associated with routine maintenance, it’s a fraction of what emergency repairs or replacements might cost.
    • Why It’s Important: In the long run, consistent maintenance can save property owners significant amounts, especially when considering the potential damage a backed-up sewer line can cause.
  5. Environmental Responsibility:

    • What It Means: Clean sewer lines mean fewer chances of overflows or leaks that can contaminate the environment.
    • Why It’s Important: As residents of a major city, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure we minimize our impact on the environment. Regular sewer maintenance plays a part in this.
  6. Peace of Mind:

    • What It Means: Knowing that your building’s plumbing system is in top shape offers a sense of security.
    • Why It’s Important: With the hustle and bustle of NYC life, the last thing anyone needs is a plumbing emergency. Regular jetting offers peace of mind, knowing you’ve taken proactive steps to prevent such issues.

FAQ: Answering Common Questions about Sewer Jetting

Cartoon of a CID Plumber - Your Brooklyn Plumber - Answering Questions
  1. Are There Other Names for Sewer Jetting?

    • Yes, sewer jetting is often referred to as “hydro jetting” or “water jetting.” All these terms refer to the process of using high-pressure water to clean and clear blockages in sewer lines.
  2. Is Sewer Jetting Worth It?

    • Absolutely. Sewer jetting provides a thorough cleaning of your pipes, removing not just blockages but also potential buildup that can lead to future issues. While there’s an upfront cost, the preventive benefits and potential savings from avoiding major repairs make it a worthwhile investment.
  3. When Should I Use a Snake Versus a Jet?

    • Snaking, or using an auger, is effective for breaking up specific, localized blockages or obstructions in your pipes. It’s a mechanical method that physically pushes through or retrieves blockages. Jetting, on the other hand, is more comprehensive, using water pressure to clean the entire pipe length, making it effective for removing buildup or more extensive blockages. If you’ve repeatedly snaked a drain and the issue persists, jetting might be the next step.
  4. Is Hydro Jetting Harmful to Pipes?

    • When done correctly by professionals, hydro jetting is safe for your pipes. The process uses clean water, and the pressure can be adjusted based on the condition and material of the pipes. However, if your pipes are already severely damaged or corroded, a professional will need to assess whether jetting is the right solution.
  5. When Should You Jet a Sewer Line?

    • Sewer lines should be jetted when there are consistent or recurring blockages, slow drains, or signs of buildup that regular snaking can’t address. It’s also a good preventive measure to consider if it’s been a long time since the last thorough cleaning.
  6. How Often Should You Hydro Jet Your Sewer Line?

    • For most properties, hydro jetting every 18-24 months can be a good preventive measure. However, buildings with higher usage or those located in areas prone to tree root intrusion might benefit from more frequent jetting (multiple times per year). It’s always best to consult with a plumbing professional to determine the optimal frequency for your specific situation.

Understanding the nuances of sewer jetting can help property owners make informed decisions about their plumbing maintenance. Whether you’re dealing with a persistent blockage or looking to prevent future issues, sewer jetting is a powerful tool in the arsenal of plumbing solutions.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Building's Plumbing Health

The intricate network of pipes that lies beneath our buildings and streets is easy to overlook, but it plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. Ensuring the health and functionality of these systems is paramount, not just for convenience but for the overall well-being of our properties and the environment. Sewer jetting, with its comprehensive cleaning capabilities, stands out as a proactive measure to maintain the integrity of our plumbing systems.


For New York City the need for such preventive measures is even more pronounced. The rise in sewer jetting services in the city underscores its significance in safeguarding our buildings against potential plumbing catastrophes.


However, as with all things technical, the key lies in understanding when and how to deploy such solutions. While DIY methods have their place, the complexity and potential risks associated with plumbing tasks like sewer jetting underscore the value of professional intervention. And when it comes to professional plumbing services in Brooklyn and the surrounding boroughs of NYC, CID Plumbing stands as a beacon of trust and expertise. Whether you’re considering routine maintenance or facing a plumbing emergency, remember that timely action, coupled with expert guidance, can save you from significant hassles and expenses down the line.


So, the next time you ponder the health of your building’s plumbing or consider the benefits of preventive measures like sewer jetting, know that you’re not just making a choice for the present but investing in the future. And always remember, when in doubt or in need, your trusted Brooklyn plumber at CID Plumbing (570-656-6261) is just a call away.

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