Sewer Backups



8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

(Monday to Friday)

705- 264-1331



Slow-running drains or water backing up through a basement floor drain are a good indication that there is a problem.

Disposable Not Flushable

Please No Wipes in the Pipes!!

Baby wipes, feminine products, cleansing clothes, cleaning and disinfectant wipes, as well as toilet bowl scrubbers and some heavy duty paper towels might be labeled as disposable or flushable but these items should not go down the drain or toilet. These products do not break down in the sewer system and can cause plugs in sewer pipes and pumps, resulting in sewer backups, costly cleanups and sewage plant equipment replacement which can result in rate increases.



The City is responsible for the structural condition of the sanitary service from the property line to the main line. Whereas the sanitary service that runs from the property line to the home is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Please note that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep the sanitary service clear of any blockages (i.e. roots, grease, flushed items) regardless of where the blockage is in the service. 

Investigation Process

It is the property owner’s responsibility to provide evidence that the City owned portion of the sanitary service is in need of repair. This evidence must be provided by means of a completed and clear sewer video inspection (CCTV) of the sanitary service. Contact a certified plumber to perform this work.

The CCTV is a continuous video from the property to the main line with a distance counter and a Sonde locate at the problem area. It is the responsibility of the property owner to arrange and pay for a CCTV inspection.

1. City of Timmins Water & Sewer staff will investigate the sanitary main line near your home to ensure it is draining properly. If it is not, staff will initiate an emergency work order to complete repairs.

2. If it is determined that the blockage is in the portion of the sanitary service located on private property, then the property owner is responsible to address the problem at their cost.

  • If the camera inspection shows blockage inside the service line then it is the Home Owners responsibility to rectify the issue

CCTV video

A copy of the submitted CCTV will become the property of the City for our records. CCTV video must show video from the entry point inside customer residence to the sanitary main line connection point (unless reasonable alternate information is provided i.e. collapse that does not allow the camera to travel the full length of the service). This video must be in a format compatible with Window Software i.e. Flash Drive (U.S.B. stick) that can be read by the City of Timmins and shall include:

  1. Address, Home Owners Name and Phone number of where the sewer back-up occurred, shall also have the date when the sewer back- up occurred and when the video was taken.

  2. A CCTV video recording with measurements from point of entry to the sanitary main. Zero out counter at the sanitary main, and new measurement taken as the CCTV returns back to original starting point.

  3. The location of the blockage must be located using a Sonde and marked out, i.e. a painted line, staked or swing tied to the building via the sanitary service. This visual locate will help expedite the process.


All reimbursements/claims must be submitted to Service Timmins. 

For more information on how to submit a claim to the City, visit

Prevent sewer backups

Disposable not flushable (Move the content from the main page)

  • Never flush paper towels, diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products or pantyhose down your toilets or sinks

  • Never 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 and place the solids in your waste bin

  • Put food scraps in your waste bin or backyard composter

  • Use a strainer over the drain of your sink, tub and shower and routinely empty the collected materials into the garbage.

  • Never pour paint, engine oil, pesticides, chemicals or other hazardous waste down the sink

  • Review your insurance policy for coverage of damages due to sewer backups or water damage

Use the Waste Wizard tool to learn how to properly dispose of a variety of items.

Safety Measures during a Sewer Backup

  • Do not flush toilets or use drains until the sewer backup has been resolved.

  • Call before you dig! Call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 to locate buried infrastructure.

  • If the sewer backup is threatening any gas-fired equipment such as a furnace, hot water heater or stove, contact Enbridge Gas or appropriate utility supplier.

  • If the sewer backup has reached any electrical outlets or baseboard heaters in your home, contact Hydro One.

  • Contact your insurance company and document damages. If the source of the sewer backup was on City property, your insurance company will follow up with the City’s claims department.

  • When cleaning impacted areas/items, be sure to wear protective clothing such as rubber boots, gloves, safety glasses and a mask. Avoid using electrical equipment until an electrician has confirmed that it’s safe.

Causes of sewer backups

Blockages in the pipe caused by items that do not belong down the drain/toilet, including:

  • Fat, oil, cooking grease

  • Wipes of any kind (even those that say flushable)

  • Feminine and/or personal hygiene products

Tree roots can grow into the sewer pipes and cause holes and blockages.

Sewer pipes can break and/or crack over time.

Heavy rain events and/or spring runoff can overwhelm the system. Reduce your water consumption and use of the sewer system during heavy rain events.