Learn About Backups

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

You've experienced a sewer backup in your home or business, or know someone who has.  Why did it occur, and how can you prevent it from happening again?

The answer depends on the source of the backup or water.

There are a number of different reasons you might have sewage and/or rainwater in your home or business:

  • MSD Public Sewers: Sewer backups can be caused by a lack of capacity in the public sewer system (sewers cannot handle the volume of flow) or MSD's negligence. Sewer backups from the public sewer primarily occur during large rain storms. Learn more...

  • Private Building Sewers: The majority of sewer backups are caused by clogs, blockages, and/or breaks in your private building sewer, foundation drains, or internal plumbing. Property owners are responsible for sewer backups caused by private building sewers. Learn more...

  • Overland Flooding: Customers often mistake overland flooding for sewer backups. Overland flooding is when rainwater travels along the ground and enters a home through foundation cracks, windows and doors. The flooding may be coming from private property, which is the responsibility of property owners. It may also be coming from the street. Street flooding and clogged stormwater inlets should be reported to your local municipality or township. Note: If you live in the City of Cincinnati, please report street flooding and clogged inlets or headwalls to the Cincinnati Stormwater Management Utility at 513-591-5050.

If you find sewage or rainwater in your home or business, it's important to know what caused it and where it is coming from. Learn the difference by checking out the links above or consulting the chart below. If you are not sure what is causing the water, report the incident to MSD within 24 hours of discovery. MSD crews will come out to investigate and help determine the issue.

  • Click here for tips on how to prevent sewer backups and overland flooding and and protect your belongings.

  • Visit our Resources & Reports page for brochures, videos and other resources.

  • Consult the chart below to help determine what to do.

  • Contact the SBU Program

    Report a sewer backup

    Call (513) 352-4900 24/7
    Submit an online report

    Note: Please report your sewer backup within 24 hours of discovery to be potentially eligible for reimbursement of damages.

    Cleaning Assistance

    Call (513) 244-5100
    Learn more...

    Filing a Damage Claim

    Download the claim form
    Learn more...
    Call (513) 244-5100 for help with your claim

    MSD Prevention Program

    Call (513) 352-4288
    Learn more...

    Resources & Reports

    Learn more...

    SBU Ombudsman with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

    Call (513) 362-2801

SBU Site Search:

MSD Home    Customer Service    City of Cincinnati    Hamilton County    Project Groundwork

Understanding Sewer Backups

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup