NOT ELIGIBLE: Sewer Backups from Private Building Sewers


Property owners and tenants are not eligible for assistance from MSD if the sewer backup was caused solely by a private plumbing issue.


About 85% of the time, sewer backups are not caused by the MSD public sewer and are therefore not covered by the SBU Program.


When a sewer backup is caused by a private issue, the property owner is responsible for the cleanup and/or repairs. MSD strongly recommends hiring a licensed plumber to investigate the issue and a certified water/flood restoration company to take care of the cleanup.


Visit our Helpful Resources page for more information about preventing sewer backups from private building sewers and protecting your property.




Sewer backups most commonly occur when a private building sewer is clogged or blocked by roots, grease, or other materials or is broken/collapsed.


A private building sewer is the underground sewer pipe that connects the plumbing in your home to the MSD public sewer. It's also known as a house tap, lateral, or building sewer lateral.



Graphic showing an issue with a private building sewer



Property owners are responsible for:


  • Keeping the entire length of the private building sewer free of clogs and blockages.
  • Repairing breaks in the section of the private building sewer located on private property.