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 Sewer: Sewer backups can be caused by a lack of capacity in the MSD public sewer system (sewers cannot handle the volume of flow) or MSD negligence. Sewer backups from the MSD public sewer primarily occur during large rain storms when the volume of rainwater in the sewers overwhelms its ability to carry the flow to a treatment plant. 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 recessed driveways, foundation cracks, windows, and doors.


MSD's SBU Program provides assistance to customers who have experienced a sewer backup due to the MSD public sewer. If you suspect a sewer backup, or do not know what is causing your issue, report it to MSD within 24 hours of discovery. MSD will investigate in an effort to determine the cause.

If you have experienced a backup from the MSD public sewer, you may be eligible for cleaning services and claims reimbursement. You will not be eligible for assistance from MSD's SBU Program if the backup you experienced was caused solely by private plumbing issues or overland flooding.

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

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

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

    Filing a SBU Claim

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

    MSD Prevention Program

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

    Videos (Customer Education)

    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