Sewer Backup

What is a sewer backup?

A sewage blockage can create a backup on private property. It is the result of wastewater no longer able to leave the property through the sanitary lateral pipe that is connected to the City of Vaughan sewer, usually due to a blockage. This results in wastewater backing up into your property.


It is important to determine where the blockage is – on public or private property. If City Operators investigate and find the blockage to be on private property, then as the property owner you will be responsible to hire a plumber to clear it.


How can I prevent a backup from occurring?

  • Never flush or pour the following materials down your drain
    • wipes of any kind – flushable/baby/others
    • personal hygiene products
    • paper towels
    • fats, oils and grease


Read more about what not to flush


For more information on how to properly dispose of household waste, please visit the City’s What Goes Where guide or download the City’s Recycle Coach App through the Apple App Store or Google Play to help you determine what goes where.


What to do if you have a sewer blockage

If you suspect you are having a sewer blockage, please follow the steps listed below. Typically, a sewer backup caused by the City’s main pipe will affect more than one property on the street.


  1. Stop using the water at your property. This includes flushing toilets and turning on any taps.
  2. Contact a licensed plumber to come to your property to clear the blockage. This is the homeowner/resident’s expense.
  3. Before your licenced plumber begins any work, please make sure that the plumber performs a Sewer Safety Inspection. It is the responsibility of the licensed plumber to call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 to request a Sewer Safety Inspection. There is no cost to you for this additional service.
  4. After following the steps above, and if it is determined the blockage is on City property, then the City will clear it at no additional charge. If the hired plumber provided a closed-circuit television (CCTV) video that shows exactly where the blockage is, please let the City know.


For more information, please call the City’s call centre, Service Vaughan, at 905-832-2281.


Frequently Asked Questions


You will be instructed to pay a deposit before the City comes to investigate if the blockage is on private or City property. The cost for the City to investigate if the blockage is on private or City property is $717.55 (including tax) Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and $1,344.70 (including tax) for a maximum of 3 hours. Any additional hours will be billed separately to the resident at a cost of $359 (plus tax).


If the City's investigation concludes the blockage begins on private property, the City is not responsible to clear the blockage and the property owner will be advised to contact a plumber. Please note the payment for the City's investigation is non-refundable in this case.


It is recommended to contact a licensed plumber first.


Before a staff member comes to a residence, the homeowner will be asked for payment. If it is determined that the blockage is found to be on City property, the City of Vaughan will reimburse the resident for the entire charge listed above.


Depending on the cause of the blockage, it may take three hours or more for a crew to clear a blockage and conduct a video inspection of the sewer lateral after it has been cleared.


How you dispose of fats, oil and grease can have a serious impact on your home and the environment. When poured down your sinks, drains or toilets, they eventually cool and can clog the pipes that take the wastewater from your house to the treatment plant. Small amounts of fats, oils and grease can be disposed of in your green bin. For more information on how to dispose of larger quantities of fat, oil and grease, visit York Region’s website.


A sanitary sewer lateral is the pipe that carries your wastewater from your home (toilets, sinks, showers, laundry, floor drains, etc.) to the public sanitary sewer.


This is a shared responsibility between the homeowner and the City. The property line is usually located at the curb box. The sanitary sewer lateral pipe running from the home to the property line is the responsibility of the homeowner/resident. The sanitary sewer lateral pipe that begins at the curb box and runs to the mainline sanitary sewer is the responsibility of the City to maintain.