Know What to do if You Have a Sewer Backup

If you have water emergency or a sewer backup, immediately report it to DC Water's Water and Sewer Emergency Line by calling (202) 612-3400.

If DC Water determines the main sewer is clear, you are required to hire a registered master plumber to clear the sewer lateral (the line servicing your property) at your own expense. Your plumber must also file a report with DC Water if the blockage is in the public portion of the sewer lateral. If your plumber cannot unclog the line in the public portion of the sewer lateral, they must call DC Water for assistance. Customer Service Personnel are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

Below are the names of several companies who offer this service:*

  • Belfor Restoration (703) 450-3900
  • Servpro (202) 737-8776
  • Triangle Legacy Flood Restoration & Carpet Cleaning (202) 888-2960

* Services and fees rendered by the companies listed above are not the responsibility of DC Water. Names are provided for informational purposes only. Consult your local Telephone Directory under "Fire & Water Damage Restoration" for a complete listing of specialists in your area.

Who is Responsible for Sewer Cleanup and Repairs?

Cleanup and damages are most often the responsibility of the property owner. The property owner is also required to maintain the sewer service line and remove any clogs in the lateral. Consider purchasing a homeowner's policy or rider to your existing policy to cover future cleanup and damage expenses from sewer backups.

Sewer main or lateral line backups or clogs caused by accidental occurrences or from weather related events that result in property damage or other liabilities are most often not the responsibility of DC Water.

DC Water generally does not pay for cleanup costs or damages that result from sewer backups. If you have additional information to indicate DC Water may be responsible, you may call (202) 787-2052 or file a claim. A detailed investigation is required prior to DC Water making a final determination as to the cause of the backup.

Legal Details

Code of District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Title 21 Chapter 2

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