Sewer Backups

What to Do if Your Sewer Backs Up

If a sewer backup occurs in your house or building, first check to see if it backs up only when you use your facilities, such as stool, tub, washer, or sink. If so, it is a possibility that you need a plumber. If you have sewage backing up when you have not used any of the facilities, it is a possibility that there is a blockage in the city’s main. When in doubt, call the Street Department at (641) 257-6314. After hours, call the Police Department at (641) 228-3366 and they will contact someone from the Street Department.

The Street Department will first check the public sewer main to determine if it is causing the sewer backup. If the public main is operating normally, indications are that your private sewer service is the cause of the sewer backup.

Blockage in the Private Service Line

If the blockage is in the private service line to a house or building, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clear the blockage. (The private sewer service line extends from the house or building to the city’s sewer main.) There are various private firms listed in the Yellow Pages who are equipped to remove the blockage from your sewer service.

Collapse of Your Sewer Service

In the event that you are unable to remove your blockage, it is possible that your sewer service has collapsed. This is true especially if your sewer was installed during the period from around 1950 through around 1970 when bituminous fiber pipe (commonly know as “Orangeburg”) was installed in most residential areas. At this point the property owner may require the services of a qualified contractor to repair or replace the sewer service.