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Clean-Up Q&A

Who is responsible for cleaning up my building after a backup?

MSD is not responsible for cleaning your building after a backup. How your building gets cleaned is up to you. Whether you do it yourself or hire a company that specializes in cleanups, be sure to document your damages and cleanup costs for possible reimbursement. Contact your homeowners/renters insurance agent to learn more about the coverage you may have.

If you choose to hire a cleaning company

  • For private companies that can handle the clean up for you, check the Yellow Pages under "Fire and Water Damage Restoration." MSD is prohibited from making specific recommendations.

If you will be doing the clean up yourself

How do I document my losses?

Take pictures and/or video of the area before cleaning. Also photograph all damaged items, and write a description of each, including when they were purchased and their approximate cost. After fully documenting your losses, throw away any items that are damaged or might cause mold or mildew.

Will I be reimbursed for the damage, repair, and cleanup costs?

Whether or not MSD or your private insurance will reimburse you for your losses depends on the cause of the flooding.

If the problem is caused by a public sewer line:

  • If a backup is caused by a public sewer line, an MSD crew will make the necessary repairs to the sewer. They won't need to enter your home or business to do it. 
  • MSD will arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit your home and verify your damages. The adjuster will address financial assistance.

If the problem is caused by the line from your home to the street:

  • These lines, known as lateral sewers, are your private property. MSD's insurance programs will not cover building backups caused by a faulty residential lateral line. Contact your insurance agent to learn more about the coverage you may have. 
  • Many municipalities also offer lateral line insurance to residents to help offset the cost of lateral repairs. For additional information, contact the Lateral Line Insurance Program sponsored by St. Louis City at (314) 647-3111, St. Louis County at (314) 615-8427 or your governing municipality.

What is building backup insurance?

Most homeowner's insurance only covers damage from water that backs up through the sewer, drains or sump pumps if you obtain a special sewer backup rider. MSD encourages homeowners to verify their coverage with their insurance company and consider adding this rider. Flood insurance typically excludes backups from sewer and drain backups.