Minneapolis Department of Public Works

Public Works

350 South 5th Street
RM 203 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

Sewer Problems in the Home

Urgent Issues

Sewage is backing up into my basement.  Who should I contact?

You can contact Minneapolis Sewer Operations at (612) 673-5625, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  A Sewer Operations crew will be sent to your property to assess the situation at no charge.  They will determine if the issue lies with in the City-owned sanitary sewer in the public right-of-way or in your private sanitary service lateral.  If the back-up is in the City-owned line, Sewer Operations personnel will fix the situation and restore flow. If the blockage causing the back-up is in your sanitary service lateral, you may need to contact a professional drain cleaning service.

Who should I call if my sanitary sewer backs-up after normal working hours?

After normal working hours (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), call (612) 490-5568.  This is the contact number for the Sewer Operations stand-by employee. Typically, crews will arrive within a half hour to determine what the issue is.

Who is responsible for cleanup as a result of a sewer back-up?

Call 311. City crews will respond and determine if the City sanitary sewer is the cause of the back-up. If this is the case, Minneapolis Sewer Operations will first open the blockage and restore flow. Sewer Operations personnel will need to take pictures of the flooded areas for documentation purposes. There may be health hazards present in your basement, even after the back-up has been addressed. You may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure no health hazards exist as a result of a sewer back-up. The property owner does have the right to submit a claim for damages and other costs related to the back up.

What if I think the damage is the City's fault?

All Sewer Operations crews will have Claimant Packets available in their City vehicles.

                              Claimant_Packet

You can either obtain a claim form at Risk Management Claims Office (330 2nd Ave S, Suite 550, Minneapolis, MN 55401) or you can download the form on the Claims Process web site. Please completely fill out the claim form and return as soon as possible. Determination of fault is generally worked out between insurance companies.

Non-Urgent Issues

I have slow drainage through my toilets, showers and sinks.  What can be done about it?

Slow drainage is usually caused by clogs in the plumbing system of your home or business.  You may need to call a professional plumber or a drain cleaning service.  Drain cleaning products are also an option. 

In a small percentage of cases, there may be an obstruction in the City sanitary sewer line. If your neighbors are having similar problems, there could be a problem in the City sanitary sewer. If you feel this may be the case, contact Minneapolis Sewer Operations at (612) 673-5625.

It smells like "sewer gas" in my basement.  What should I do?

The most common cause of "sewer gas" (hydrogen sulfide) odor in basements is due to improperly maintained floor drains. The floor drains in your basement are designed to "trap" the hydrogen sulfide gases in the sewer and take them away from your basement.

How to Remedy the Problem:

What causes a sanitary sewer to back-up?

Most sanitary sewer back-ups occur when the pipe get clogged with debris.  The primary culprit are roots that have grown into a cracked or broken sanitary service lateral.  Sewer back-ups can also occur due to:

What causes a sewer stoppage?

A sewer stoppage can occur when a City sanitary sewer line becomes obstructed.  This can cause the sanitary sewer in the public right-of-way to back-up, sometimes resulting with water and/or sewage coming up through a floor drain in the basement of a property. The same thing can happen at a property if the obstruction is located in the sanitary service lateral.

Last updated Mar. 18, 2013