What do I do if my sewer backs up?

If you experience a sewer backup, call us, whether during the day, after hours, or weekends and holidays at 573-443-2774.

We will dispatch service personnel to your address to determine if the stoppage is in the sewer main or your sewer lateral. If the sewer main if found to be clear, it is the responsibility of the property owner to call a plumber or sewer/drain cleaning service to correct the problem. The property owner is responsible for maintaining adequate flow to and through the sewer lateral from the property structure and into the sewer main. If the blockage is in the sewer main, we will fix it as quickly as possible and keep you informed about what is being done.


Emergency Procedures To Follow After A Sewer Back-Up

After a sewer back-up, it is very important to follow emergency procedures quickly to minimize subsequent health hazards and property loss.

Unlike fire and other losses, water losses may not start out severe, but may end up causing damage because of delay of cleaning up the water or sewage. Generally, if the homeowner takes proper emergency action immediately, a sewer back-up will result in either no damage or minimum damage caused by the water. When feasible, Boone County Regional Sewer District encourages the use of certified cleaning and restoration contractors for sewage backup cleanup and restoration, particularly if a customer affected by a sewage backup has homeowner insurance with sewage backup coverage. However, customers affected by a sewage backup should not delay cleanup and restoration efforts if use of contractors is not immediately feasible.

Download instructions on how best to go about cleaning up after a sewer back-up >

The resident has the duty to minimize damage and losses.


Does your homeowners insurance cover sewer back-ups?

The District makes every effort to be responsive to customer needs and concerns when a sewer backup occurs. The District inspects, cleans and maintains sewers on a regularly scheduled basis.  Unfortunately, because a sewer is not a closed system, many things put into the sewer can clog the system. The District does not generally accept responsibility or assume liability for sewage backup incidents resulting from blockages within District lines. Blockages may result from causes not within District control such as vandalism, improper disposal of grease and solid waste products, unpredictable tree or plant root growth invading sewer pipe joints and customer connections, as well as other causes unknown or undiscoverable by the District in sufficient time to take corrective action. Large amounts of grease from restaurants and disposable (and cloth) diapers are two common items that cause problems.  

Many homeowners' insurance policies exclude damage resulting from sewer backups. The District urges you to check with your home insurer regarding the availability of sewer backup insurance. We have found that adding coverage for backups is relatively inexpensive, and we encourage all our customers to obtain coverage for sewer backups.


Prevent that late-night emergency service call

It's Monday evening. The dishes are done. The kids are occupied with homework and baths. You've parked yourself in your favorite chair, remote in hand. You hear a gurgling sound in the basement and detect a slight, offensive odor. You put down the remote and reluctantly approach the basement stairs, hoping your fears are unfounded. Unfortunately, bubbling up in the basement drain is the dreaded sewer back-up.

The first thing you do is call us at 573-443-2774 – any day, any time. At no extra charge, we'll check the main lines for blockages. If we do not find a blockage in our lines, then it's time for you to call a plumber.


Prevent Sewer Blockages

There are several ways you can reduce the likelihood of stoppages in your private sewer lines and your neighborhood's main lines. Most sewer line obstructions are caused by grease, tree roots and debris. The simplest way to prevent these materials from blocking your lines is to keep them out of your lines.

Find out more about common causes of collection system obstructions >


Your Private Lines and Tap Connection are Your Responsibility

Upkeep and maintenance of individual service lines from the home up to and including the service line connection to the main line and the tap connection are the responsibility of each property owner. Grease buildup, roots, broken pipes, cracked pipes, deteriorating clay pipe, and bad service line connections to the main line can all cause a sewer backup.

Service line maintenance and upkeep are vital in avoiding sewer backups caused by these circumstances. The District strongly encourages property owners to investigate the condition of their private lines and protect their property against potential sewer backup occurrences.


Repair of Faulty Tap Connections

The line that connects a home or business to the main line and the point of connection (the tap) to the main line are the private part of the sewer system and therefore the responsibility of the owner of the property. Tap connections as well as any place where there is a seam between two pipes are prone to root infiltration.

Roots begin as tiny hair like strands that creep into pipe seams in their search for moisture.  As they grow they can cause two problems for sanitary sewer systems. First the roots can form a mass that obstructs the private and/or main line and cause sewage to back up into your home or your neighbor's home.  Second, as the roots expand and become bigger they create larger gaps in the seams that allow ground and storm water to enter the sewer system. The addition of storm water in a sewer system can over load the pipes and treatment/reclamation facilities and cause overflows.

Taps with root invasion are usually found in older neighborhoods where the system is made of clay pipe rather than the plastic pipe that is available today. If you live in an older neighborhood and the system was built with clay pipe, you may receive a letter sometime in the future after the District has performed a TV inspection of the public sewer line that serves your property. The letter will notify you that a faulty tap connection is against District regulations and must be fixed.

If you are having problems with your private lines and your plumber believes the problem may be in the tap, the sewer district will inspect your tap upon request. Although many plumbers have TV inspection equipment for small diameter pipes, this equipment is not able to get a good picture of the tap connection. Cameras for small diameter pipes do not scan and pivot and are not able to turn and look at the condition of the tap connection. The sewer district will look at your tap from within the main line and let you know if you need to replace it.

When you are looking for property to purchase especially in an older neighborhood, you may want to include a TV inspection of the sewer line as part of the home or business inspection. Contact the sewer provider to see if it has inspected the tap connection for that address and ask them to check their records for any problems, back-ups and/or repairs.


Illegal Plumbing Connections

DO NOT connect french drains, sump pumps, gutters and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer.  It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line.  Consult a plumber to correct any illegal connections.


Dig Safely

Missouri One Call System - 1-800-344-7483 - Stop-Call Before You Dig!Spring weather inspires outdoor projects like installing swimming pools, putting up fences, planting trees and repairing sewer lines. Underground utilities exist everywhere, even in your yard. Digging without knowing where it's safe to dig can cause tremendous damage and even loss of life. Contact MO One Call before you dig, at 1-800-DIG-RITE or www.mo1call.org. They will contact underground utilities in your area. The utilities will mark where their underground lines are located on your lot, and you can dig safely and avoid harm to you or your property.