Sewer Backups & Other Emergencies

This section contains IMPORTANT INFORMATION regarding sanitary sewer back-ups. If you have had a back-up, please read this information carefully in order to protect your property.


General Information

If you ever experience a problem with your sanitary sewer system, you can call 636-447-4944 or 314-729-4214 for 24-hour emergency service.

Sewer back-ups do occasionally occur for a variety of reasons. Duckett Creek Sanitary District regrets the inconvenience that this situation causes. Claims to utilities and insurance companies for damages to homes caused by sewer back-ups probably lead to more misunderstandings and hard feelings than any other single kind of claim. Therefore, customers should be aware of the various causes of sewer back-ups and understand who is financially responsible for any damage done to the home.

Lateral Line Problems

“Clogs” in the home’s lateral line cause most sewer back-ups. The lateral line is the sewer line running from the home to the main sewer line. Items flushed down a drain or toilet can easily clog this line. In addition, roots from trees can break into the line and block its flow. This line is considered part of the home and is the responsibility of the homeowner. However, in most cases, homeowner policies DO NOT cover damage caused by problems with the lateral sewer line. Most policies exclude damage caused by drain or sewer back-ups. Homeowners should verify their exact coverage and exclusions with their insurance company.

Main Line Problems

Duckett Creek Sanitary District owns the main sewer lines into which the homeowner’s lateral lines are connected. Sometimes a main line can become clogged and result in a back up. Duckett Creek’s liability varies based on the reason for damage to the main sewer line. If an obstruction in the line is caused by vandalism, such as rocks, rags, bottles or other debris deposited in the line, Duckett Creek has no financial responsibility to cover damage to your home. The same is true of clogs caused by homeowners pouring grease, sanitary napkins, toys or other such items down their drains.

If the obstruction is caused by things, such as roots in the line, Duckett Creek may reimburse homeowners up to $5,000 for damage to the home caused by the back-up.

If the back-up is deemed to have been caused by an action taken by DCSD, the District may reimburse the homeowners for the expense to repair the damage.

Acts of God

A common reason for sewer back-ups is excessive rain or flooding. Although the sewer system is completely separate from the storm water lines, rainwater can get into the sewer lines. Excessive amounts can overflow the sewers and cause back-ups to occur in basements. Duckett Creek Sanitary District is not responsible for any damage resulting from Acts of God.

Sewer Back-Up Insurance

Most homeowner’s insurance will NOT cover damage from water that backs up through the sewer, drains or sump pumps. Even if a homeowner has flood insurance, sewer and drain back-ups are normally excluded. Coverage for this type of event must be added as a rider. Duckett Creek encourages each homeowner to verify coverage with their insurance agent and consider a sewer back-up rider. This is especially important for those living in low-lying areas and those with finished basements.

Emergency Procedures

If you have a sewer back-up, please contact Duckett Creek Sanitary District as soon as possible. Call 636-447-4944 or 314-729-4214 for 24 hour emergency service. The District will respond to all calls to determine the cause of the problem and take corrective action. If the cause is in the customer’s lateral line, the customer will be informed so that he or she can arrange for a plumber to correct the problem.

Customers should take the following actions to help limit the damage caused by a sewer back-up.

  1. All water and sewage should be immediately removed from the basement. This can be accomplished through the use of wet vacs.
  2. Remove all wet rugs, clothes, boxes and other items from the basement area. All rugs, clothing, and other washable items should be washed immediately.
  3. All water should be extracted from the carpet and then the carpet should be cleaned and deodorized.
  4. If the water is high enough to involve a motor on a furnace or an electrical appliance, a reputable repair person should be called to remove the motor and have it dried. In most cases, motors can be dried without incurring any damage to the motor.
  5. All concrete or tile floors should be washed down with fresh water, and then washed with a strong cleanser such as Lysol®, or other odor killing solution.
  6. All items, such as sewing machines and typewriters, that have finely machined parts should be taken immediately to a repair facility so that they may be cleaned and oiled.
  7. All items contained inside wet boxes should be removed, cleaned, then dried and the boxes thrown away.
  8. All wood furniture should be thoroughly dried and wiped with an oil base wood polish.
  9. All wet paper items should be removed from the basement and stored outside or disposed of depending on the condition and value.
  10. The basement area should be thoroughly dried. Floor fans and a dehumidifier are recommended, if available. Floor fans and dehumidifiers can be rented from a local rental shop.
  11. Do not throw anything away except for inexpensive paper products until a Sewer District representative has had a chance to inspect them.

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