Sanitary Sewer Information

Important Tips

  • Always call the City of Anoka first if you are experiencing a sewer backup affecting all of your home’s drains or if you do not have water. During business hours, call 763-576-2923 or 763-576-2980. After hours, call 763-576-2860.
  • If you have concerns regarding the damage a sewer backup could do to your property, contact your insurance carrier and review your coverage.
  • Do not dispose of any inappropriate items into the sewer system.


The City of Anoka has approximately 66 miles of sanitary sewer mains. Each year about one-fourth of the city’s sanitary sewer mains are inspected and cleaned. Mains requiring a higher level of maintenance are cleaned annually or semi-annually. This routine maintenance helps to prevent blockages and sewer backups.

Report the Problem to the City First

Sanitary sewer problems should be reported to the City of Anoka’s Public Services Department. The city will work with you to identify the cause of the problem. If there is a blockage in one of the city’s main sewer lines, the city will attempt to clear the blockage. Please contact the Public Services Department using our Sewer Back-Up Repair Request Form or call 763-576-2923, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 3 pm .Outside regular business hours, emergencies can be reported to the Anoka-Champlin Fire Department dispatch at 763-576-2860.

Sewer Backups

As a resident you can play a key role in preventing sanitary sewer backups. To help prevent backups, please dispose of the following items properly, not by dumping them in a drain or flushing down the toilet:

  • Diapers
  • Garage waste products, such as oil, grease, gasoline, antifreeze
  • Household waste, such as ashes, grease, corrosives, glass, metals, paint, poisons, or solvents
  • Medical waste (i.e. needs and syringes)
  • Rags or shop towels
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Yard waste, such as sand, soil, or mud

Inflow & Infiltration

Inflow and infiltration (I and I) is also a potential cause of sewer backups. I and I refers to clear water getting into the sanitary sewer system. This might occur through cracks or leaks in sewer pipes and manholes or from sump pumps incorrectly connected to the sanitary sewer system. Particularly during large rain events, I and I can cause the sanitary sewer system to overflow, resulting in sewer backups.

Because of the potential for I and I to create system issues, city ordinance prohibits property owners from disposing of clear water into the sanitary sewer system. This includes water from any roof, surface or ground sump pump, foundation drain, or swimming pool.


The city is not automatically responsible when a sewer backup occurs. There are many reasons for backups which the city cannot control. For example, people dumping inappropriate items, such as grease or diapers into the system can create a blockage. Tree roots can grow into and obstruct the lines. Generally, the city is responsible only if it was negligent in maintaining the main sewer lines.

Sometimes your homeowner’s insurance will pay for sewer backups. Not all policies have this coverage, so you should check with your agent.


It is important to note that regardless of where a blockage is found, in the city’s main sewer line or in an individual sewer line, in most cases the property owner is responsible for the cleanup costs. The city or its insurer will pay for cleanup costs only if the city negligently failed to maintain its sewer line.

If you feel damage occurred as a direct result of the city’s negligence, you can file an insurance claim by calling the city at 763-576-2700.

Clean Up

For large cleanups you should call a cleaning service. Your insurance carrier might have suggestions on which service to use, or look on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages. Homeowners can clean up smaller backups. Use a solution of two tablespoons chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. To reduce health hazards thoroughly clean the areas affected by the backup as soon as possible.

The sewer line from your home, business, or other property to the city sewer main is your responsibility. That means that you as the property owner are responsible for clearing any blockages. Property owners must schedule service and pay the cost of clearing any blockage located in the individual sewer line on their property.


If you have questions regarding the city’s sanitary sewer maintenance program, sewer backup response, or a specific incident, please contact the Public Services Department at 763-576-2923 or use our Water/Sewer Problems Reporting Form.