Sewer Backups

Richmond Hill's Public Works Operations staff are on-call 24/7 to handle emergencies like watermain breaks and sewer backups (emergency drain services - residential). Call us immediately at 905-771-8800 when there's a sewage backup in your home. We will send an authorized drain contractor to your home.

Property owners need to sign a Sewer Servicing Agreement before the contractor can start any work. The agreement states that the property owner agrees to pay Richmond Hill for the service call if the cause is on the private property side and not the public property side. The service call fee is $650 plus HST.

View Richmond Hill's Sewer Use By-Law No. 132-13.

Issues on private property side
Property owners are responsible for problems on the private property side of the system. They must call a licensed plumbing or drain contractor to do any additional maintenance or repair work. The owner will also need to pay the cost of the original service call.
Issues on public property side
For sewage backups caused by issues on the public property side Richmond Hill will decide if additional work is required to fix the problem. City staff will arrange for any work on the public side of the system. The property owner will not pay for this work. Richmond Hill will also waive the fee of the original service call.
Preventing sewer backups
There are a number of ways you can help prevent sewer backups. Follow these tips to make sure your drains stay blockage-free:
  • Don't flush paper towels, diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products or pantyhose down your toilets or sinks
  • Don't pour fat, oil or grease down the drain, even if you wash it down with hot water
  • Wipe greasy pots and pans with a paper towel before washing them
  • Put food scraps in your green bin
  • Start composting at home
  • Use a strainer over the drain of your sink, tub and shower and empty the collected materials into the garbage
  • Don't use too much detergent, follow the instructions on the bottle
  • Don't pour paint, engine oil, pesticides or chemicals down the sink
  • Avoid dropping jewellery and other valuables down the sink
  • Review your residential insurance policy and check for coverage of damages due to sewer backups or water damage