Flood Awareness

Sewer Backup? Call us FIRST at: (513) 352-4900

Tips for Preventing Floods and Sewer Backups, Protecting Your Property and Responding if Events Occur

Floods in your home can be caused by a number of events:

  • Overland flow of rainwater that enters your home through windows, doors, driveways and cracks in your building foundation
  • Sewer backups caused by clogs or breaks in your private building sewer
  • Sewer backups caused by lack of capacity in the public sewer

Here are some tips for preventing floods and sewer backups, protecting your property and belongings, and responding if an event occurs:


  • Keep your building sewer in good working order: A building sewer is the underground sewer pipe that connects the plumbing in your home to MSD's public sewer. Property owners are responsible for keeping building sewers clear of clogs caused by tree roots, grease and other debris. Property owners are also responsible for repairing breaks in the portion of the building sewer located on private property. MSD will repair breaks in the portion located in the public right-of-way.

  • Install a backup prevention device: Talk to a plumber about installing a sewer backflow valve in your drain line. A backflow valve can help prevent the risk of sewage backing up into your home. Contact MSD at (513) 352-4288 if you’ve experienced recurring sewer backups caused by the public sewer. You may be eligible for a backup prevention device free of charge through MSD.

  • Clean your gutters: Remove leaves and debris that can clog gutters and drains

  • Install new foundation drains.

  • Waterproof your basement.

  • Buy a sump pump: Consider installing a sump pump with a battery backup. The sump pump will gather water runoff and pump it to the exterior of the your home, away from your foundation.

  • Change the slope of your yard away from your house.


  • Obtain flood insurance and/or a sewer backup rider on your insurance policy. Review your coverage annually.

  • Elevate, elevate, elevate. Elevate important possessions or store them somewhere other than the basement. Elevate water heaters, furnaces, washers and dryers and anchor them if needed..

  • Keep pets out of your basement. If your basement frequently floods, please keep pets safe and out of the area.

  • Photograph and document items in your basement.

  • Sign up for MSD CSO Notifications You will be alerted to predictions of ¼ inch or rain or more. www.msdgc.org/consent_decree/cso_public_notification_program/index.html


Your response depends on where the water is coming from. Please view this flow chart and follow the steps:

  • Contact the SBU Program

    Report a sewer backup

    Phone: (513) 352-4900
    Online: Report a sewer backup online

    If you have a sewer backup (SBU), please report it immediately. You can report sewer backups 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    Note: SBUs must be reported within 24 hours to be eligible for reimbursement of damages.

    Get information about sewer backup prevention

    (513) 352-4288

    Filing a claim

    Start here: How to File a Claim
    Get help filing a claim: (513) 244-5100
    Just need the form? SBU Claim Form (pdf)

    SBU Ombudsman with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

    (513) 362-2801

SBU Site Search:

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Understanding Sewer Backups

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup