Sewer Backup Info for Plumbers

Sewer Backup Policy & Responsibilities for Plumbers

(& Property Owners)

The information below provides details for our sewer backup policy and will help you determine the appropriate response. As a service to our customers, our Good Neighbor Policy (GNP) offers assistance for residential property owners who have experienced a qualifying sewer backup. This is defined as a first-time occurrence caused by a blockage in the sewer main line, not in a home’s service line or connection.

If a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Utilities customer contacts your company to request service following a sewer backup, in order to qualify for reimbursement under the GNP, you are required to follow our policies.

• Any resident connected to public sewer who has experienced a sewer backup should immediately call City Link 311 or 336-727-8000.

• WSFC Utilities staff will promptly investigate and clean any accessible portion of the home’s service line within the public right-of-way (ROW) at no cost to the homeowner (see diagram below).

• If a courtesy cleanout stack at the edge of the ROW exists, as a courtesy, WSFC Utilities staff will clean and repair it, if deemed necessary.

• If the home’s service line to the ROW is not blocked (no water is visible at the cleanout stack) or if a cleanout stack is not found, the homeowner must hire a plumber. Our requirement is that the plumber will clear any blockages and push the blockage all the way to the sewer main line.

• Plumbers must run root machines or jet hoses through the home’s service line, NOT just to the cleanout stack, but through the public right-of-way or easement, all the way to the sewer main line.

The plumber must confirm the blockage has been pushed to the sewer main line and then CCTV the service line to obtain proof of any damages to the line within the ROW. The plumber must submit this evidence of damages to a WSFC Utilities Field Operations Supervisor. If there are no damages within the ROW then the homeowner will not be reimbursed for the CCTV of the service line.

After a resident has reported a sewer backup to WSFC Utilities, the property owner must arrange for prompt cleanup of their property. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to identify and hire a contractor, if one is needed, for these services.

Although a homeowner may otherwise qualify for reimbursement under the GNP, WSFC Utilities strongly recommends that any homeowner who experiences a sewer backup contact City Link immediately, prior to beginning clean-up; failure to do so may negatively affect any claim filings they may make. Moreover, WSFC Utilities will not recommend a contractor to the homeowner, nor contract with one on the homeowner’s behalf. In accordance with the GNP, staff will review all submitted cleanup costs and will only reimburse those that are reasonable and related to cleaning the sewage backup.

For more information regarding the assistance WSFC Utilities provides to homeowners who have experienced a sewer backup, please see our Good Neighbor Policy brochure. It is available under Resources and at


A third of all sewer backups are caused by grease & wipes going down the drain.
No one wants raw sewage in their home.

Can the Grease
Scrape fats, oils & grease into a can, put a lid on it and throw it in the trash.

No Wipes in Pipes
Despite what the package may say, they are not flushable.
Throw them in the trash instead!
Only flush the four Ps:  Pee, Poop, Puke & (toilet) Paper