Sewage Backup

Sewage in Your Home

The back-up of sewage through the drains in your home or business is an unpleasant situation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your property. We have staff on-duty around the clock. Call our office at 410-643-3535. After business hours, and on holidays and weekends, call the same number 410-643-3535. Your call will be answered by the County's Emergency Services dispatchers. Discontinue inside water use in the event of a sewage backup.

Peak of Sewage Flow

Wastewater flows through small lines on your property to the larger, county lines in the street. From there the sewage travels by vacuum to a water reclamation facility. While there is always flow, it is far from constant. There is a large peak in the morning between 6 and 9 a.m. There is a lesser peak in the evening between 5 and 7 p.m. Each day roughly two million gallons of wastewater safely reaches the county's facilities to be reclaimed and returned to the environment.


Unfortunately, a blockage in the sewer line or a mechanical malfunction can interfere with this normally quiet, out-of-sight process. A blockage in the private or county line causes a backup through floor drains and toilets at the lowest point in your home or business. The overflow will continue until the blockage is removed or until sewage is no longer entering the line.

If an Overflow occurs, call our Emergency Services Line at 410-643-3535. Call the Sanitary District before you call a plumber and technicians will come out and investigate the problem.

If the sewer cleanout is accessible, technician(s) will be able to determine if the blockage is in the customer's line or in the county line. If the blockage is in the county line, the crew will be able to break the blockage, ending the back-up.

If the blockage is in the customer's line or if there is no cleanout, or if the cleanout cannot be located, you will need to call a plumber to assist you.


Anything which should not be in a sewer line has the potential of causing a blockage. For example:

  • Kitchen grease, disposable diapers, and sanitary napkins can accumulate and cause a blockage.
  • Tree roots seeking moisture can grow through cracks in the lines, causing a blockage.
  • Illegal hookups allow excess water into the lines. Outside stairwell drains, sump pumps, roof leaders, and drain gutters should never be connected to the sewer system. A sewer system is designed to carry a predetermined amount of sewage. Rain water not only overloads the system, but also raises the cost of the treatment process.
  • As we operate one of the Country's largest vacuum collection systems, it has other problems that are unique to that type of system as well.

Blockage Prevention

To protect your property follow these simple steps:

  • Don't put diapers or sanitary napkins in the toilet
  • Don't dispose of grease down the drain
  • Don't plant trees near sewer lines
  • Don't connect any drains or sump pumps to the sewer system
  • Do have a plumber's test plug available (available at hardware stores) to block drain during a back-up.
  • Do hire a plumber to install a backflow valve on the lowest drain line. Regularly inspect and maintain the valve.
  • Do modify the plumbing line so that water is pumped to an upper level drain, eliminating the drains at the lower level.
  • Do locate and keep accessible the sewer cleanout in your front yard.
  • Do check your homeowner's insurance policy. You typically need to purchase an additional insurance rider to be covered for back-ups. If you are not covered for back-ups, call your agent for information on costs and coverage options.

Can I Flush It?

Do Not Flush Flushable Wipes or Other Products!

Even if a product says it is "Flushable" (unless it is toilet paper) it should not be flushed down the toilet as it will not degrade and disintegrate as toilet paper is designed to do and will clog the sewer system.

  • No diapers (including cloth, cotton, disposable or plastic)
  • No Flushable disposable wipes for cleaning or baby wipes
  • No Paper towel, cloth towels, or any other type of rag
  • No feminine hygiene products
  • No facial tissues

Dispose of these items by placing them in the Trash Can.

Putting these items down the toilets may plug sewers and cause sewage to backup into Your and Your Neighbors Homes.

Flyer for What is Flushable! (PDF)

Contact Queen Anne's County Sanitary District at 410-643-3535 if you have questions.

Do not Flush