Sanitary Sewer Backups

What every resident should know:

The Sewer Maintenance Division works diligently to keep our Storm Sewer and Sanitary Sewer lines operating efficiently. Unfortunately, there are occasions where a blockage of a main or lateral occurs, resulting in a backup of sanitary water into a basement or onto the ground. If you observe what appears to be sanitary sewage flowing onto the ground, please call during normal business hours, Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (563) 344-4088. After hours, holidays and weekends call
(563) 344-4015 Press #9 .

If you see water backing up into your basement please follow these steps:
  • Stop all use of water in your home. This includes dish washing, clothes washing and bathing/showering.
  • If you need to use the bathroom facilities, do not flush the toilet. This will only add to the problem.
  • If you need to drink water or need water for cooking, try to prevent water from going down the drain.
  • Remember, in the case of a blockage, any water that gets into your drains will end up in your basement.
The Sewer Division will respond quickly to help with the problem. We will determine whether the blockage is in the City’s collector or in the homeowner’s lateral. If the problem is in the collector, we will clean the line with a sewer jet to remove the blockage and/or further investigate to determine the cause of the blockage.  The lateral is the homeowner's responsibility, however, in most cases we will still sewer jet the collector to see if the suction may dislodge the blockage in the lateral. If this helps, we still recommend the homeowner hire a sanitary sewer plumber to determine the cause and clean the lateral. If the Sewer Jet in the collector does not resolve the problem, we recommend the homeowner hire a sanitary sewer plumber with the ability to jet flush the lateral. There are many plumbers in the area with this ability. It is a good idea to have a plumber’s number added to your “emergency call” list.

Additionally, if you have stored goods in the basement that have become contaminated, you will want to call a company to disinfect and clean the basement. Finally, call your insurance agent to determine if the costs are covered in your home owner’s insurance policy. Many insurers require a rider to the policy for this type of coverage.