Where can I get help?

To report a sewer backup contact the RRWRD Supporting Services Department, at 815-387-7600, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Additional help is available if your home is left unusable because a sewer back-up has resulted in damage to the heating or water system, resulted in electricity being cut off, or left your house in an unhealthy condition so you cannot live in it until repairs are made.

The American Red Cross offers assistance to persons who are left homeless because of fire, flood or other problem with a dwelling. To initiate the process you must first report the problem to the Rockford Human Services Department or the Winnebago County Health Department. They, in turn, will contact the Red Cross.

If you live in the City of Rockford, you may get assistance and referrals to other agencies by calling the Human Services Department at: 779-348-7114.

If a dwelling is unsafe to live in, all residents of Winnebago County may call the Winnebago County Department of Public Health at: 815-962-5092.

If you have homeowner's or tenant's insurance you should immediately contact your insurance agent to determine what damages are covered by your policy.

Sewer back-up insurance is available as a rider to your insurancepolicy. Note: there is a difference between flood insurance and sewer back-up insurance. Please check with your insurance agent.

Additional sewer-related problems should be reported to the Rock River Water Reclamation District at: 815-387-7600.

For the numbers of cleaning services that can help restore your property, look in the Yellow Pages under Fire and Water Damage Restoration. District personnel cannot recommend a specific service provider.

Flood recovery information for "do-it-yourselfers" is available from the American Red Cross without prior referrals from Human Services or the Health Department. Call 815-963-8471.

Click here to view the
Official District Policy Regarding Interrupted Service.

Why did my sewer back up?

Sewers back-up for two reasons; either the line is blocked or more water is trying to flow into the main than it can hold.

When the main cannot handle all of the water that is coming into it, the water backs up to a higher level. Generally the water comes up through floor drains, toilets and sinks in the lowest part of the houses that are at the low end of the sewer main. See the diagram below:

Blockages in sewer mains can happen because the pipes become filled with debris, because tree roots grow into the pipes and block the flow, and because large objects, such as tree branches and rocks, are dumped into manholes.

Sewer blockages can result fromgrease used forcooking, etc. for more information on grease blocking sewers and how to prevent it

Acommon causes of over capacity flooding is the illegal connection of sump pumps to the sewer lines. Just 10 sump pumps can overfill the average residential sewer main during a storm.

Who's responsible for fixing it?

The Rock River Water Reclamation District is responsible for the maintenance of the sewer mains that run in the streets.

Individual property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the lines running from houses to the sewer mains.

Property owners also are responsible for any damage caused by blockages of the lines running from the house to the street. The District is responsible for problems in its lines only if the problem is due to negligence on the Districts' part.

If the problem is in the line from the house to the street, the District's policy is to try to clear the problem if it can be done quickly. However, you might need to hire a plumber to clear or repair your connector line if major work is needed.

Damage to your home from sewer back ups might be covered by your homeowner or tenants' insurance. Check with your agent. For more information on repairing your residential sewer see the documents below:

It Is Your Decision: Do You Need Sewer Repair Insurance?

Who is responsible for repairing your residential sewer line?

Bonded Service Cleaning Contractors

If you want to download the Free Adobe Acrobat Reader click:

Will it happen to me again?

Some areas are susceptible to flooding because they are located at the low end of the sewer line, illegal connections overfill the line, foreign materials block the line, or for other reasons. There are some things you can do to prevent repeat flooding or to minimize damage in case of a flood.

  • Install one of several available back-up prevention systems. Ask a plumber what would be best for your situation.
  • Store valuables at least high enough to be above the water level of the last flood.
  • In case of root problems in connecting sewer lines, make arrangements for periodic cleaning.
  • In certain cases you may be eligible to be reimbursed by the District for the installation of a back flow prevention device. This reimbursement must be approved by the District in advance. For more information CLICK HERE.

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