Sewer Backups

What You Should Know & How You Should Protect Yourself


A “Plugged Individual Sewer Service Line” is different than a “Backup” from a sewer main. Call a sewer cleaning, jetting company or plumber to clean and/or maintain your individual service line. This is the homeowner’s responsibility to the sewer main. Occasionally a blockage in a sewer line will result in a backup of sanitary sewage into a private home. If you experience a backup, immediately contact the City of Lake Crystal Public Works Department. The following information will answer the basic questions about what to do if you experience a backup and how to begin cleaning.



The City is not automatically responsible when a sewer backup occurs. There are many reasons for backups which the City cannot control. For example, people dumping inappropriate items such as grease or diapers into the system can create a blockage. Tree roots can grow into and obstruct the lines. Generally, the City is responsible only if it was negligent in maintaining the main sewer lines. Sometimes, your homeowners’ insurance will pay for sewer backups. Not all policies have this coverage and you should check with your agent. If you feel damage occurred as a direct result of the City’s negligence, you can file an insurance claim by calling the City.


Service Line Warranty Program

"Providing warranty protection for your buried, outside water and sewer lines"

To learn more about the program, visit the website or contact the company by phone. 


Phone: 1-866-922-9006



  • Take pictures of damage for your records.
  • Keep all receipts for all work done.
  • Write a description of the extent of damage.
  • Record date and time of occurrence and note which sewer areas surcharged– floor drain, lower level toilet, laundry tub and the like.




For large clean ups, you should call a cleaning service. For smaller backups you can clean yourself, use a solution of two tablespoons chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. To reduce health hazards, thoroughly clean the areas affected by the backup as soon as possible.

The Minnesota Department of Health suggests the following:

  • Use outside air to dry your home. Open windows and doors and use an exhaust fan to remove moist air from the house.
  • If available, use a room de-humidifier & empty it often.
  • If your basement is flooded, pump the water in stages – about one-third per day. If not, do not pump the basement all at once because the saturated soil could cause the basement walls to collapse.
  • Wear a mask to prevent inhaling contaminated dust
  • Open, clean, decontaminate, and thoroughly dry cavities in walls, floors, and ceiling
  • Release any water or mud that has been trapped in walls, ceilings or floor cavities.
  • Allow walls to dry from the inside out.
  • Remove moisture and debris from all surfaces and get surface materials dry within 24-48 hours. If any materials are still wet or moist after 24-48 hours, you should assume they have mold growing on them.
  • Remove all interior wall finishing materials and insulation.
  • Throw out any wet insulation, moist plaster, wallboard and paneling. If you think you might have materials containing asbestos in your home, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-4620.


For additional information regarding cleanup of furniture, carpeting/hardwood, and appliances, please view the "Protecting Against Sewer Backups" document at the bottom of the page.