Sewer Backs-Ups

When your sewer backs up, contact the City first!

Insurance Coverage

Coverage for backups of sewers and basement drains is available, but not always included in a basic homeowner's insurance policy. In addition, insurance companies that do offer the protection have varying amounts of coverage.

Check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if you have coverage for backups. If you do not have coverage, consider adding it to your policy because in most cases the City's insurance will not cover your damages in the event of an incident.

City Information

The Edina Public Works Department continues to strive for a reliable infrastructure system. However, in some instances the system might fail and we all need to plan for those unexpected occurrences.

For more information, contact Public Works Coordinator Dave Goergen at 952-826-0312, or Utilities Supervisor Gary Wells at 952-826-0316.

Occasionally, a blockage in a sewer main or sewer service results in backup of sanitary sewage into a private home. Unfortunately, you have experienced one of these backups. You probably have many questions about what to do next. The following information should provide you with a starting point.


The City is not usually responsible when a sewer backs up. There are many reasons for backups, which the City cannot control. For example, people dumping inappropriate things 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 sewer lines. Sometimes your homeowner's insurance will pay for sewer backups. Not all policies have this coverage, so check with you agent. If you feel that the damage occurred as a direct result of the City's negligence, you can file an insurance claim by calling 952-826-0404.

Clean Up

For large clean ups, you should probably call a cleaning service. Your insurance carrier might have suggestions on which service to use or you can look into the Yellow Pages under "Water Damage Restoration" or "House Cleaning." For smaller areas you can clean yourself, use a solution of two tablespoons of 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 home.
  • If available, use a room dehumidifier. Empty it often.
  • If your basement is completely flooded, begin pumping the water in stages - about one-third per day. Make sure that the level of the floodwater is below the level of the basement floor. If so, 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, especially if you have allergies. Consult your physician if you have questions.
  • Open, clean, decontaminate and thoroughly dry cavities in walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Allow walls to dry from the inside out.
  • Remove moisture and debris from all surfaces and get surface materials dry within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Release any water or mud that has been trapped in walls, ceilings or floor cavities.
  • Remove all interior wall finishing materials and insulations.
  • Throw out any wet insulation.
  • Throw out moist plaster, wallboard and paneling.
  • Throw out mattresses and pillows.
  • Throw out any opened packaged foods that are not waterproof. Commercially canned foods can be salvaged if the labels are removed and the cans thoroughly washed. The cans should then be disinfected by wiping the entire surface with a bleach and water mixture then rinsed with water. Home-canned foods require additional care. After the jars containing home-canned foods have been washed and disinfected, the food should be boiled for 10 minutes before using.
If you think you might have materials containing asbestos in your home, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-215-0900.

If any materials are still wet or moist after 24 to 48 hours, you should assume they have mold growing on them.

Soiled Clothing/Blankets

  • Line-dry all articles before attempting to clean or treat them.
  • After drying, b rush off loose dirt and debris.
  • Send "Dry Clean Only" items to a professional cleaner.
  • Wash clothes several times in cold water. Add up to a cup of bleach per load of wash if it will not harm clothing.
  • Rinse and dry all items as soon as possible.

Wet Carpeting

  • Pull up waterlogged carpet immediately to prevent further floor damage.
  • Carpet pads cannot be saved. Remove the pads and throw them away.
  • Attempt to save carpets or throw rugs only if they would be very expensive to replace.
  • Clean and dry your floors thoroughly before re-carpeting.

Wet Floors or Hardwood

  • Remove any moisture or debris.
  • Scrub floors and woodwork within 48 hours using a stiff brush, water, detergent and disinfectant.
  • Allow all wood to dry thoroughly.

Wet Furniture

  • Discard upholstered furniture if it has been exposed to water or contaminated material.
  • Clean, rinse and disinfect wood furniture.
  • Place wood furniture outside in a shady area so it will dry slowly.

Wet Appliances

  • If your hot water heater became wet due to flooding, it should be discarded. The insulation typically can't be replaced and the burner or heating element might be damaged and could cause an explosion or fire if used. If in doubt, consult a service professional before using.
  • If the furnace was flooded, have it inspected and serviced by a professional furnace service before using.

Record Keeping

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

Contact Information

For more information, contact the City of Edina's Public Works Department at 952-826-0375.

For more information on clean ups, visit the Minnesota Department of Health's website.