Sewer Backups

Public Works has several programs to maintain the Village sewer system and reduce blockages including: street sweeping, catch basin cleaning, and a closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection.


CCTV entails a video camera being pulled through the sewer pipe while the picture is shown on a monitor and observed at ground level. CCTV is the most effective means of inspection and gives a permanent visual record of the sewer conditions.

Signs of a Backup

Despite these programs, sanitary sewer backups may occur at any time. The number one sign of a sewer backup is flooding in the basement. Street flooding, however, though often mistaken for a backup, is not a sign of a sewer main blockage. Rather, a flooded street is the result of a blocked catch basin/street inlet, usually occurring during a significant storm event, and indicates water and debris are prevented from entering the sewer system and reaching a basement.

Blockages may occur either in the homeowner's private sanitary service line (Property Owner's Responsibility) or in the public sanitary sewer system (Village Responsibility).

Public Works Responsibilities

The Public Works is responsible for the maintenance of the public portion of the Village's Sewer System:
  • Catch Basins
  • Manholes
  • Sewer Mains
  • Street Inlets
When a sewer main blockage occurs, usually the whole neighborhood is affected. Residents experiencing a sanitary sewer backup problem should call the Public Works. We will check the flow at manholes upstream and downstream.

If the upstream manhole is stagnate while the downstream is flowing or dry, then the problem lies in the sewer main and Public Works will immediately work to remove the blockage. If the sewer is dry or flowing at both manholes, the problem lies in the private service line of the property, and it becomes the responsibility of the property owner.

Property Owner Responsibilities

From their building's sanitary system to the point where the residence or business connects to Riverside's sewer main is the responsibility of the property owner. They are responsible for maintenance of their individual system, including root intrusion prevention.

From experience, the primary culprit for sewer backups is root intrusion into the property's service line. If a private service line is blocked, residents should call a plumber.