Backup Prevention

Preventing Building Backups

The majority of sewer backups into homes or buildings are not caused by a failure of the public sewer system, but rather an issue with the private plumbing system. Regardless of cause, building backups are most likely to occur during heavy rainfall. Here are simple things you can do to help prevent them.

  • Have your lateral line that connects your home or building to the public sewer system inspected and cleaned regularly by a licensed plumbing contractor.
  • Flush root eliminator products down your toilet to help prevent tree roots from growing in your sewer. These products are available at most hardware stores.
  • Avoid flushing diapers, feminine hygiene products, and materials other than toilet paper down your toilet.
  • Properly dispose of leaves and grass clippings to prevent them from washing into storm sewers, causing blockages and possible flooding.
  • Never dump oil, paint, grease, or any hazardous chemicals into a stormwater inlet, sanitary sewer drain, or other sewer structure.
  • Never pipe a sump pump, downspout or driveway drain into a sanitary sewer line.
  • Properly grade your yard away from your home.
  • Avoid filling in or building over graded low areas in your yard, also known as swales. Doing so can affect stormwater flow.
  • Avoid constructing buildings, decks, and swimming pools over storm or sanitary sewer easements. If unavoidable, contact MSD and request an encroachment (giving us permission to enter your property), which is required before such a structure can be built.