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Sewer Back-Ups

What causes a sewer back-up?

Most sewer back-ups happen when the sewer line, called the lateral, is plugged or requires maintenance.  Blockages can be caused by a number of problems; root invasion, grease build up or pieces of debris that have been flushed down a drain. 

What is a sewer lateral?

The sewer lateral is a length of pipe that runs from your building to the City sewer line. It consists of a privately owned portion and a municipally owned portion, separated at the property line. 

What is the privately owned portion?

The privately owned portion is the portion of the lateral located on your property between the building and the property line.

What is the municipally owned portion?

The municipally owned portion is the portion of the lateral located on the street right-of-way between your property line and the main sewer.  

Lateral Sewage Diagram. Sanitary lateral runs from the home, across the property line to the sanitary sewer.  The private section of the lateral is between the home and the property line.  The Municipal lateral is the section from the property line to the

What is the City sewer?

The City sewer runs underneath the roadway collecting waste from sewer laterals and transporting it to the sewage treatment facility.

When there is a sewer back-up what should I do?

Please contact the City Public Works Division at 705-745-1386 to report the problem. This telephone line is answered 24/7.  A City staff member will attend to investigate the cause. 

You may be able to control the degree or amount of back up by not using your plumbing until you have the sewer problem checked.

Should I also call my insurance company if there has been property damage as a result of the back-up?

Yes. Many insurance policies cover damages for sewer back-ups.  Your insurance coverage may be more extensive than what you could recover from the City and this may be the quickest way to recover any costs and have repairs made. Your insurance company can then pursue any other party they believe to be responsible for the damages.

A claim may still be made directly against the City by following the procedure outlined in the Making a Claim section of this site. However, the onus will be on you to demonstrate the City’s negligence.