Sewer Blockage

Sewer backups are a potential problem for all property owners. Roots, grease, and improper disposal of items typically cause blockages, so the city cannot guarantee that a backup will not occur.

Tree roots can enter the sanitary sewer system at joints and cracks in the sewer service lines and mains.

Any items flushed down the drain or toilet can block lines, such as:

  • Disposal diapers
  • Disposable towelettes
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Washing machine lint
Sanitary and vacuum trucks

Clean-Up Service

If the backup is the result of a blockage in the city-operated sewer main, the city employee will contact the homeowner and offer a clean-up service to alleviate any health concern. The city has contracted with a cleaning service to respond quickly in case of emergency.

If the homeowner is agreeable, the city will contact the cleaning company and have them remove any back-up material and clean the floors, carpets, walls, trim or other items in the home that have been soiled. The service is intended to only clean up the initial effects of the back up. Other damages that may be of concern to the homeowner must be pursued through their homeowner's insurance or an insurance claim to the city filed with the city clerk.

This initial cleanup by the city is intended to reduce the hardship experienced by the homeowner.

Blockage in Sewer Service Line

If there is a blockage in the sewer service line, it is the homeowner's responsibility. Our utility department requests that they be notified after a sewer service line has been cleaned.

Typically, the cleaning process pushes an accumulation of tree roots and sewage into the sewer main that may cause a blockage of the main, and consequently cause sewer backups in your neighbors' homes.


Any resident experiencing a problem with their sewer should contact the Maplewood Public Works Department at 651-249-2400 immediately.

Call the Maplewood Police at 651-777-8191 after normal business hours. Our utility department will check the sewer main through a manhole to determine if there is a blockage in the sewer main line. If there is no problem in the street, the blockage is probably between the house and the sewer main.

Tree root invasion, at the joints of the old-style clay pipe, is a common problem where mature trees exist.

Sewer Policy

View the City of Maplewood Sanitary Policy (PDF).