FAQ - Sewer Emergency FAQ

Call DC Water's emergency line at 202-612-3400 for advice.

  • If the problem is with the toilet located above the lowest floor of the building, or if the problem is with an individual fixture, you can attempt to clear the blockage yourself or contact a licensed master plumber.
  • If the problem is with a bathroom on the lowest level of the home, please contact DC Water so we can look into the problem.

Call our emergency line at 202-612-3400 right away. If possible, move your valuables to the upper floors of your home, and notify your insurance company if damage occurs.

Blockages are often caused by soil settlement, misaligned joints, tree roots, pipe collapse, grease buildup, or by placing items in your system that should not be flushed down a drain

Yes. There's a common device called a Backflow Preventer (BFP) that can be installed in your plumbing system by a licensed plumber. A BFP can be manual or automatic; it can effectively shut off the home or business from the street sewer system during extreme sewage backups. Please note that if the BFP is closed, or put into action, you must not use the toilet, sink, shower, washer, dishwasher, or any appliance that discharges wastewater. If you have a BFP installed, be sure to inspect it regularly.