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Taking Action - Wastewater (Sewage) Backups in Homes

When you are faced with a wastewater backup in your home in Halton Region, get support and assistance from the Region. Contact 311.

Both you and Halton Region own the sewer pipes that come to your home.

  • The Region owns from the sewermain on the street to your property line.
  • You own from the property line into your home.

Regardless of the source of the blockage, use the following procedure to get help.

Contact Halton Region immediately by calling 311 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

  • Public Works staff will review the property history, and contact the homeowner directly to discuss the situation.
  • If necessary, staff will arrange for an external contractor typically provided by Enbridge Gas to investigate.
  • The contractor will conduct a Sewer Safety Inspection (SSI) to ensure the natural gas line does not cross through the sewer line. The SSI also helps determine the location of the sewer blockage.

Halton Public Works staff will follow up with the homeowner to:

  • assess the issue;
  • clear any identified blockages located on the Region’s (municipal) side of the wastewater sewer system; and
  • If the blockage is on the private (residential) side of the property, you will be directed to contact a private plumber.

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Report property damage caused by the flooding.

  • Discuss your coverage with your home insurance provider (e.g., emergency clean up services, repairs and replacement coverage).
  • Keep receipts for all expenses that you incur for your insurers’ use.
  • Discuss what steps you need to take to make a claim.
  • Take photos of damage caused by flood for your insurance claim.

Depending on the terms of your insurance policy, your insurer(s) may:

  • assign an adjuster to visit your home to take pictures and handle your claim
  • recommend a vendor who will conduct the emergency services and repairs

Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Sewage from a wastewater back up can pose a health and safety risk.

  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.
  • If water has risen above electrical outlets or water is near electrical panels, consider shutting off your hydro. Contact your local hydro company and/or an electrician, if necessary.
    • Note: This would affect the operation of a sump pump or sewage ejector.
  • If you detect gas, leave the house immediately and contact your gas provider. Water can extinguish a pilot light on a gas appliance, but gas may continue to run.
  • Do not use toilets or sinks until the source of the backup is known. This will help prevent more wastewater from entering your home.

If you are going to perform your own cleaning, sanitizing and handling of affected items:

  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves, protective eyewear, rubber boots and a mask.
    • Minor debris can be put out for regular garbage collection.
    • Throw out these food items that may have been in direct contact with wastewater:
      • canned foods
      • home-prepared food in jars
      • meats and dairy products
      • any packaged foods
    • For food safety information call 311.
  • Dispose of or wash (in a separate load) all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent.
  • Remove standing water and ventilate the area. Use a de-humidifier, fan or open windows to let fresh air in.
  • Remove and discard drywall, insulation, flooring or other porous items (e.g., furniture, rugs, mattresses) that have been in direct contact with wastewater.
  • Clean walls, floors and non-porous items (e.g., materials made of plastic) using a solution of household bleach.
  • Make decisions about what to keep and what to throw away.
  • Do not consume potentially contaminated food.

You may qualify for financial assistance from Halton Region if Public Works staff have investigated the sewer backup and determined that:

  • a blockage occurred on the municipal side of the wastewater system; or
  • the wastewater backup was the result of a sewer surcharge.

The image in this section illustrates the border between the private side and municipal side of the sewer lateral.

Halton Region’s Ex-gratia Grant ($1,000) for Public Sewer Backup can help residents to either offset the cost of an insurance deductible, or help with flooding-related costs that are not otherwise covered under their home insurance policy.

Residents who sustain property damage from blockages that occur on the private side of the wastewater system and/or blockages that are the result of objects in the drain that originate from the building or private side of the wastewater sewer system are not eligible for the grant.

To be eligible for the Ex-gratia Grant for Public Sewer Backup, you must immediately report the sewage backup to Halton Region. Public Works staff will contact you regarding next steps.

Diagram of house that shows homeowner responsibility, property line, storm lateral, wasterwater lateral, storm sewer main and wastewater sewer main

Halton Region is responsible for the section of wastewater service line that runs from the wastewater main at the street, up to and including the curb stop.

The property owner/homeowner is responsible for the section of wastewater service line that runs from the curb stop into the home. Homeowners are also responsible for all indoor plumbing.