Damage Claims

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

Claim Form

  • Claim Form
    Download this claim form (writeable PDF) to request reimbursement for items damaged by a sewer backup caused by the public sewer system. Read below for important information about reimbursement and the claims process. Call (513) 244-5100 if you need help filling out the form.



Not all sewer backups are eligible for reimbursement:

  • MSD’s SBU program covers sewer backups caused by a lack of capacity in the public sewer system.

  • MSD’s SBU program does not cover overland/street flooding or sewer backups caused by private building sewers. Water that is not coming from MSD’s sewer system is the responsibility of local municipalities and townships or private property owners.

If you believe you have suffered damage to your home or belongings because of a sewer backup caused by a lack of capacity in the public sewer system, please download a damage claim form and follow the instructions.

Sewer backups must be reported within 24 hours of discovery to be potentially eligible for compensation under the claims process. Your claim must be received by MSD no later than 2 years after the date of your sewer backup. In most cases, you will receive a written decision within 60 days of MSD's receipt of your completed claim form.



Under the SBU program, MSD has historically provided reimbursement for the following types of expenses:

  • Loss of personal property (e.g., furniture, miscellaneous storage items, appliances). MSD reimburses for current (depreciated) value of damaged personal property.

  • Structural damage to the interior of the property (e.g., flooring, dry wall, furnace/AC, hot water heater, electrical).MSD reimburses for the reasonable replacement value for structural damage, including critical mechanicals.

  • Reasonable expenses incurred to hire a professional cleanup contractor.

Our reimbursement policies are based on criteria established by our Consent Decree and guidance from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ("Federal Court").

Property owners and tenants can submit a claim for any damages they feel they have incurred as a result of the sewer backup. However, certain items may be denied based on the criteria established by the Consent Decree and Federal Court.

Through a Review Process (outlined below), the claimant can request that a magistrate judge review the settlement offer and make a final determination.

Alternatively, anyone affected by a sewer backup has the option of pursuing his or her claim through the standard legal process rather than through the SBU claims process. He or she may file in the Hamilton County Municipal Court or the Court of Common Pleas.



Ohio law requires MSD to deduct any benefits a property owner or renter is entitled to receive through private insurance from an SBU claim for personal property damage, structural damage, etc.

If you have homeowner or renter insurance coverage that applies to sewer backups or floods, you should contact your insurance company immediately to report the incident and get instructions for filing a claim. If you are not sure whether you have this coverage, please contact your insurance agent.

If you need supporting information from MSD to file with your insurance claim, such as copies of photos or lists of your damaged property, you can obtain them by calling MSD Claims Assistance at (513) 244-5100.

If you file a claim with your insurance company, MSD will cover the deductible and eligible damages above the insurance limit, provided the sewer backup is eligible for reimbursement.

Some customers prefer not to file a claim with their insurance company. Please note you are NOT required to file a claim, but if it is determined that you are eligible for payment of damages by MSD, the amount that MSD will pay you will NOT include any amount that your insurance would have paid.



There are multiple steps in the MSD sewer backup claims process. Some of the steps are fairly simple and short, while others can take some time. In most cases, you will receive a written decision within 60 days of MSD's receipt of your completed claim. Your claim must be received by MSD no later than 2 years after the date of your sewer backup.

Step 1 (Administrative):This step focuses on receiving/scanning the claim into our database, a technical evaluation and assignment to a claims adjuster.

Step 2 (Claims Adjustment):The length of time a claim spends in this step is determined by the complexity of the claim and whether all the needed documentation is included (insurance info, etc.). At the end of this step, the claims adjuster completes a proposed settlement (which is the amount to be reimbursed).

Step 3 (MSD Legal Review): MSD Legal reviews the proposed settlement prepared by the claims adjuster.

Step 4 (Settlement Offer and Settlement Check):Once MSD Legal has approved the settlement, a letter containing the settlement offer and release is mailed to the claimant. If the claimant is in agreement with the settlement offer, he/she signs the release and returns it to MSD and a check is cut and mailed to the claimant. If the claimant is not in agreement with the settlement offer, he or she may further discuss the amount with MSD or pursue the Review Process – see below for steps.

Review Process: If you are not in agreement with the settlement offer from MSD, you can request a review with the Federal Court. This process is as follows: In accordance with an order in the Consent Decree case, Federal District Court case # C-1-02-107, you may file a Request for Review with the Federal Court in Cincinnati, Ohio. You should file your Request within 90 days with the Clerk’s Office of the Federal Court located in the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse, Room 103, 100 East 5th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. You may call the court-appointed Ombudsman, the Legal Aid Society, at (513) 362-2801 for further information.



If you have general questions about the claims process, please call MSD Claims Assistance at (513) 244-5100.

If you are not satisfied with the decision on your claim, you can call the SBU Ombudsman with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati at (513) 362-2801.

  • 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:

MSD Home    Customer Service    City of Cincinnati    Hamilton County    Project Groundwork

Understanding Sewer Backups

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup