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MSD News and Alerts

Official MSD press releases and media alerts issued by MSD.
Thu, 09/06/2018

As the St. Louis area prepares for heavy rainfall over the next several days, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) offers tips to help residents prevent property damage.

Tips for Homeowners:

  • Be sure gutters are free of leaves, branches, and other blockages: Blocked gutters can cause water to cascade down the side of a structure or pond on a roof, both of which can cause rainwater to enter a home.
  • Clear downspouts and make sure they drain away from your house: Misdirected downspouts can focus water toward a home causing flooding within the structure or foundation damage.
  • Clean window wells: Some homes have window wells outside their basement windows. Be sure these areas are free of leaves and other debris so they can drain properly and as quickly as possible. If water accumulates, it presses up against the basement window, which in turn can seep into or even flood your basement.
  • Clean stairwell drains: Homes with basement entryways have a drain at the bottom of the stairwell. Make sure this drain is not blocked and is clear of leaves and other debris. Water accumulating in a stairwell can seep into your home and flood your basement.
  • Check sump pump drainage hoses: Water from a sump pump should drain away from the home so that it does not flow back into the basement. Many sump pumps incorrectly lead to the basement drain; the pump’s drain should lead outside. It is a good idea to have a backup pump in case the primary pump fails.
  • Clear drainage paths on your property: In many parts of our community, small creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage. Ensure that the path rainwater travels from your property to drain into these waterways is clear of possible blockages. Portable pools, loose recreational equipment, piles of yard debris (grass clippings, branches, etc.), and the like can block these drainage ways and stop water from draining as quickly as possible from your property. Remove these possible blockages and ensure that rainwater has an unimpeded flow to the waterway.
  • Limit indoor water use: Limiting the use of dishwashers, washing machines, showers, and the like during intense rainfalls places less demand on the sewer system. This increases the ability for the sewer system to handle stormwater in the parts of our service area with combined sewers handling both wastewater and stormwater.
  • Clear streets and other areas of debris: Leaves, plastic bottles, branches, and other debris can easily block inlets. When high-intensity rainstorms hit, these items wash into the inlets. Items that make it into the sewer decrease the amount of water the system can handle. Items that do not go into the sewer block inlets causing street and other localized flooding.
  • Keep local creeks and streams clear: Local creeks, streams, and other waterways provide stormwater drainage for many parts of our community. The vast majority of these waterways are private property. Thus, responsibility to keep these waterways maintained and clear falls on adjacent property owners or subdivisions as a whole. Ensuring that these waterways are clear of grass clippings, branches, fallen trees, and other debris will allow rainwater to drain away as quickly as possible.

MSD is Prepared

MSD conducts a systematic and aggressive year-round preventative maintenance program to ensure optimal performance of the sewer system during heavy rainstorms. However, if a large volume of rain falls over a short period, it is possible that the sewer system could become overwhelmed. To prepare for the potentially extreme rainfalls, MSD will have additional crews working throughout the weekend to maintain the public sewer system and to respond to customer calls.

If you experience a basement backup, please contact MSD’s 24-hour customer service number at 314-768-6260 or email us at MSD has assistance programs in place for basement backups. More information on what to do after a building backup is available on the MSD website.

If you cannot easily clear a blocked inlet, please contact MSD’s 24-hour customer service number at (314) 768-6260 or email us at Please also contact MSD if you discover ponding or flooding on a street due to a blocked inlet during the rainfall. While MSD is not a flood control agency or floodplain manager and cannot address ponding or flooding issues unrelated to our sewer system, we will respond to calls for flooded streets and blocked inlets as quickly as possible and on a priority basis.

Remember, ponding can cause cars to hydroplane at high speeds. Slow down. If street flooding is particularly deep, do not attempt to drive through the water; doing so risks damaging your car and risks your life. BE SAFE! DO NOT TAKE CHANCES! TURN AROUND – DON’T DROWN!
If you find yourself in an emergency, call 911.