Sewer Backup Information
If it Happens to You, What Should You Do?
If you experience a backup of the sewer or drains in your home, call us at (405) 216-7770 and we will help determine where the blockage is.
Who is responsible?
A reliable infrastructure system is a priority for the Edmond Public Works Department. However, a sewer is not a closed system and many things (tree roots, disposable diapers, vandalism, etc.) can clog the system.
When a sewer backup occurs, the City of Edmond makes every effort to assist our customers. Since each situation has its own unique set of circumstances, the following information will help you understand responsibility and liability for damage from sewer backups:
- If the stoppage is in the City main, we will fix it as soon as possible (see diagram at right). In most cases, the City’s cleaning equipment can be used to restore the flow without digging to the sewer line.
- If the stoppage is in the private line connecting to the City main, we’ll let you know so you can contact your plumber to fix it.
- Sewer backups are not routinely covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. Don’t assume you are covered: check your policy to make sure you are covered for damages due to sewer backups. You may need a special option for coverage so talk to your insurance agent.
- Edmond is only responsible for its own property, not your line or the connection to the main. According to the law, the city cannot work on private property and public funds can't be spent for private purposes. The City of Edmond can only reimburse you for damage if the backup is in the City main and we had advance knowledge that there was a problem and we didn't respond in a reasonable manner and time.
Steps to Avoid a Sewer Backup
- The best protection against sewer backups is a backflow valve or a check valve. They are required by ordinance on all new and newly-repaired sewer lines. If your home does not have a backflow valve, you can have your plumber add one to your line. The valve works by closing when water comes into it from the wrong direction so it prevents sewage from backing up into your house. Once installed, clean the valve periodically to ensure it continues to work properly.
- Plant trees and large shrubs a minimum of ten feet away from sewer lines. Roots grow toward breaks or cracks in the line. When roots get inside the pipe, they clog it.
- Don’t connect sump pumps, French drains, other flood control systems or roof gutters and downspouts to your sanitary sewer. The debris and silt will clog your line. These connections are illegal so you will want to contact your plumber to undo them.
- Dispose of grease and fats with your trash, not down the drain.
- If you see anyone tampering with sewer manholes, report it immediately. Vandals often throw debris down sewer manholes which stops up the sewer system and causes sewer backups.
- If your drains are running slow, call us at (405) 216-7770 at the first sign of a problem. We’ll come and check the lines.