What should I do if sewage is overflowing onto the ground, driveway and/or street?

If you have a public sewer emergency, such as a manhole overflow, leaking pipe or smell or see sewage on the ground, please contact us immediately for 24-hour response at 415-259-2949.

There are three distinct types of sewer and/or stormwater structures that may call for three different responses: 

OverflowContra Costa Valve Devices - When blockages form in the sewer main or in a private sewer lateral, wastewater can back up in the pipe create an overflow. Overflow devices prevent sewage from backing up into a building and instead release the wastewater outside into the landscape. Contact a licensed plumbing contractor if you suspect the overflow is being caused by a blocked private sewer lateral. If you see a spill coming from the street, manhole or near a creek, it may be coming from a public sewer. Contact the District immediately at 415-259-2949. For more information on overflow devices, click here.  


Manhole with a SmartCover SensorManhole Structures - These are usually located in the middle of the street and provide access for pipe inspection and cleaning. The District’s manhole structures vary from 25 to 42 inches in diameter and are normally have "Sanitary Sewer" printed on top. Contact the District immediately at 415-259-2949 to report an overflow.



Storm Drain in StreetStorm Drains carry rainwater only and are usually under curb openings in the gutter, with a grated or slotted piece of metal cover. Contact your local Public Works Department or the Marin County Department of Public Works at 415-499-6570 to report problems with storm drains.



For more information, watch the District's "Call Us First" video to learn about what a sewer spill looks like and how to respond.

Show All Answers

1. What can I do about slow drainage through my toilets, showers and sinks?
2. Which sewer pipe is my responsibility?
3. Which sewer pipe is the District's responsibility?
4. I recently purchased my property. How long do I have for compliance?
5. How can I find my private sewer lateral?
6. What can be done to fix a manhole cover that rattles every time a vehicle rolls over it?
7. What can I do about sewer odors?
8. When is a sewer permit required?
9. What should I do if sewage is overflowing onto the ground, driveway and/or street?
10. What should I do if sewage is backing up into my property through overflowing toilets, sinks, bathtubs, or other fixtures?
11. What should I do if my sewer lateral is broken by a contractor or utility company?
12. I plan to sell my property. What do I need to know before selling?
13. I plan to remodel my property. What do I need to know before remodeling?
14. I need to replace my sewer lateral. Does the District offer funding?