Responding to a Back-Up

What should I do if sewage backs up into my home?

  • First, take action to protect people and valuable property.
  • Ceramic plumbing fixtures such as toilets are fragile, quickly close all drain openings with stoppers or plugs.
  • Tub, sink, and floor drains may need additional weight to keep them sealed. A string mop can be used to help plug toilet openings.
  • Don’t run any water down your drains until the blockage has been cleared.
  • A quick check with nearby neighbors will help determine if the backup appears to be in your neighbor’s wastewater line, and/or widespread in your neighborhood. In this case, call the Department of Public Works immediately.
  • Call a plumber if the problem is in your lateral service line.

What will the Village do about a sewer backup onto my property?

  • You will be asked questions about the backup timing, location, the property at risk, etc.
  • Village personnel will check for blockages in the main line. If found, the blockage will be immediately cleared.
A graphic showing a sewer lateral.
  • If the main line is not blocked, you will be advised to call a plumbing or sewer contractor to check your lateral line.
  • Maintenance and repair of the lateral line is the owner’s responsibility. (See diagram at right.)
  • To minimize damage and negative health effects, you should arrange for cleanup of the property as soon as possible.
  • There are qualified businesses that specialize in this type of cleanup.
  • If the sewer backup onto your property resulted from blockage in the main sewer line, Village personnel will explain what the Village can immediately do to help take care of the problem.

Will my insurance cover any damage to my home or property?

In the majority of cases, a special rider will need to be added to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to cover damages related to sewage backups or water damage. This optional coverage is usually not very expensive, but you must usually request that it be added to your policy. Check with your insurance agent about this policy provision.