Sewer Backups

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When the issue is urgent, we will send a maintenance crew to your home, usually within a few hours. Urgent situations include raw sewage found inside or outside of the house, missing manhole covers, and flooded streets.

During especially heavy rainfall, we may receive hundreds of phone calls and must prioritize our response according to the immediate threats to our community’s health and safety. Because of our limited resources, it may take from a few hours to a few days before a crew responds. In most cases, crews will not need to enter the customer’s home or business to respond to the complaint.

We also follow up on reports of non-urgent cave-ins and settlements, typically within a few weeks.

Raw sewage and flood waters contain bacteria, fecal matter, viruses, and parasites that can cause illness. To protect your family’s health, you’ll want to remove any contaminated items and clean the affected area as soon as water recedes. Learn more about what to do after a building backup.

After a cave-in is reported, we send a crew to secure the cave-in area in order to protect the public’s safety. The crew will then conduct a dye test to determine if the cave-in is caused by a defect in the public sewer system. Learn more about cave-ins and when MSD is responsible for their repair.

The lateral line connects your home or building to the public sewer system. Wastewater from your sinks, showers, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines flows through the lateral line to the public sewer system. The lateral line, including connection, is private property. It is the property owners’ responsibility to maintain and repair the lateral line. Learn more.

In many cases, it is most cost-effective to remove stormwater connections in areas where there are two sets of pipes – one for wastewater and one for stormwater – called a separate sewer system. Most of St. Louis County is served by such a separate sewer system. The City of St. Louis, however, is served by a combined sewer system, where wastewater and stormwater share the same pipe; different solutions are needed in these areas. MSD will cover all costs, and will schedule the work on your property as part of an ongoing capital improvement program.