SMU Operations and Maintenance

SMU Manages

  • Over 300 miles of storm sewers
  • Approximately 30,500 inlet and intake structures
  • Over 6,000 storm sewer manholes
  • The Mill Creek Barrier Dam
  • Four Pump Stations

Goals and Objectives

  • Protect lives and property
  • Administer a comprehensive storm water drainage and flood management program
  • Mitigate future flood damages by applying the proper combination of structural and non-structural measures
  • Deliver a timely response to community storm water drainage concerns
  • Render a productive service to the community through proper inspection and maintenance of the storm sewer system


  • Identify and minimize/correct drainage concerns
  • Maintain and rehabilitate the existing storm water drainage system
  • Plan, design, and construct additions and improvements to the storm water drainage system
  • Regulate private sector impacts on the storm water drainage system
  • Minimize the impact of system failures
  • We inspect watercourse blockages and provide general management services for some of the larger waterways in the city

Private Violation Notification Process

Occasionally, actions by private citizens and businesses disrupt the efficiency and functionality of the public storm sewer system. When this occurs, SMU enacts the following procedures:

  • SMU receives a request for service from a citizen, business, or another city agency
  • SMU personnel visually inspect the area and determine if further action is needed
  • If the area of concern falls under public responsibility (inside public right-of-way or easements), the necessary work orders are issued
  • If the area of concern falls under private responsibility, SMU personnel will meet with the property owner/manager and verbally advise him/her of the necessary actions according to the Cincinnati Municipal Code (CMC) In addition, a letter referencing applicable sections of CMC Code will be sent to the property owner advising them of their responsibilities for maintenance under the CMC Code.
  • SMU personnel will schedule a follow-up inspection, usually within 30 days after the meeting with the property owner/manager
  • If the situation is corrected, the service request is closed. If the situation is not corrected, the SMU supervisor is notified.
  • The SMU supervisor then sends a letter to SMU Administration detailing the situation.
  • SMU Administration then sends a certified, follow-up letter, noting the proper CMC sections, to the property owner. The property owner then has up to 30 additional days to correct the drainage violation.
  • After this 30 day period is over, SMU personnel will inspect the site. If the situation is corrected, the service request is closed. If the situation is not corrected, SMU has the following options:
    • Grant additional time for the correction
    • Correct the work with its own resources and then assess the property owner for the cost of the corrective work.
    • Request a legal opinion from the City Solicitor’s office
    • Proceed to the next step in the Civil Code Violation process (

Contact Us

Report a Sewer Backup:
(513) 352-4900 24/7 or online

Customer Call Center:
(513) 352-4900 24/7

Project Customer Service:
(513) 557-3594

Development Services:
(513) 244-1330

Media Inquiries:
(513) 557-7095


MSD Mailing Address:
1600 Gest St.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45204

MSD Facilities and Directions