Welcome to MSD's Sewer Backup Response Program (SBU)

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

Letter from the MSD Director

The Cincinnati area has been experiencing a number of unusually large rain storms, resulting in overland flooding and sewer backups.

Rainstorm intensity appears to be on the rise.  A U.S. EPA report published in 2014 shows a 37% increase in rainstorm intensity in our region over the last 10 years. This trend, if it continues, will have a significant negative impact on our community. Our sewer system was built – like other sewer systems across the nation – to handle a 10-year rain storm, not storms of the magnitude we have been experiencing.

Hamilton County is one of the few communities in the nation that has a Sewer Backup Response Program (SBU). The SBU program, which is required under MSD’s federal Consent Decree with the U.S. EPA, provides the following services to MSD customers when the backup is caused by the public sewer system:

  • 24/7 reporting of the sewer backup
  • Free cleanup assistance
  • Payment of damage claims
  • Prevention program for customers who experience multiple sewer backups caused by the MSD public sewer.

Street flooding and clogged stormwater inlets should be reported to your local municipality or township. MSD is only responsible for overflows from the public sewer system. Water that is not coming from MSD's sewer system is the responsibility of local governments or private property owners.

MSD's program also does not cover sewer backups from private building sewers, generally caused by clogs (e.g., trees roots, grease) or breaks in the line.

For more information on the difference between overland flooding, sewer backups from private building sewers, and sewer backups caused by the public sewer, please read about Preventing Backups. Our Prevention and Protection Tips page provides tips on preventing sewer backups and overland flooding and protecting your belongings.

If you think you have experienced a sewer backup from the public sewer, please contact us 24/7 at (513) 352-4900 or report it online within 24 hours of discovery. MSD will investigate the incident and determine if the sewer backup was caused by the public sewer system or whether it's due to an issue with your private building sewer or overland flooding.

For those who would like additional information about the SBU program, we encourage you to contact the SBU Ombudsman at the Legal Aid Society at (513) 362-2801.

Thank you.

Jerry Wilkerson, Interim Director, Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD)



Do Your Part Cincinnati

MSD created the Do Your Part Cincinnati digital experience to help kids (young and old) learn about their sewer system.  Click Puddles the cat to watch the video, play the game, and read more about how to do your part.

  • 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