Cleanup Procedures


When a sewer backup occurs, the damaged area must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The steps of the cleanup process are outlined below:




If your property is eligible for cleanup, an MSD representative will contact you by telephone to schedule an appointment with you.




When the cleaning crew arrives at your home, he or she will ask the property owner or tenant to sign a "Permission to Enter" form. This form allow MSD's professional cleanup contractor to enter and inspect the area that was flooded.


The “Permission to Enter” form is a legal document, so please read this form thoroughly before you sign it. You will receive a copy of the form for your records.




MSD's contractor will begin inspecting the damage and determining the moisture content of walls, floors, and other materials in the area.


After your property has been inspected, the cleanup contractor will work with you to develop a list of items that can be saved and a list of those that require removal and disposal.


Be sure to review the lists carefully before signing them.


Learn what items can be saved and what cannot.



Photo of workers wet vaccing a floor
Wet vacuuming




MSD’s cleanup contractors are experienced, insured and certified in water damage restoration by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). They will follow all standard practices for professional water damage restoration, as set forth and established by the IICRC.


The cleanup contractors will conduct the following activities:


  • Relocate undamaged property
  • Remove contents that cannot be cleaned and saved
  • Clean items that can be cleaned and saved, and relocate
  • Extract water from your basement, if any remains
  • Remove wet carpeting, padding, floor tile or other damaged flooring
  • Cut out and remove damaged drywall, wallboard, paneling, and wood studs
  • Clean appliances such as refrigerators, washer, dryer, etc.
  • Clean, dry, and disinfect walls and floors that are wet but not damaged.


The cleanup contractors may use these cleaning products and equipment:


  • Cleaning solutions
  • Disinfectants
  • High-pressure sprayers
  • Vacuum water extraction equipment
  • An electronic air cleaner


If the water is more than a few inches deep during the backup, it could affect your furnace or water heater. Check them to make sure they are functioning properly. MSD will not clean or remove these items. If repairs are needed, you can submit the repair bill with your damage claim for consideration.


Photo of professional cleaning crew in full gear with blue booties at a home
Professional cleaning crew getting ready to clean




Hazardous Wastes


This program specifically excludes the removal of hazardous waste from flooded basements. Examples of such materials include asbestos floor tile, paints and solvents, and some cleaning chemicals. If such materials are present, the MSD cleanup contractor will not remove them.


Mold and Mildew


MSD’s cleanup services are not designed or intended to remove or remediate mold and mildew. Cleanup assistance removes only the water and residues associated with the sewage backup, plus any personal property or building materials that were damaged by the sewer backup.

As part of the overall cleanup process, some mold and mildew on water-damaged building materials or contents may be incidentally removed from your property. No warranty, either express or implied, is provided with respect to the removal, remediation, or control of these natural biological agents.




After the cleaning is finished, the cleanup contractor will set up several pieces of drying equipment in your basement. Special fans will be used to dry walls and floors, and dehumidifiers will be used to dry the air.

Depending on outside weather conditions, windows and doors will either be opened or kept closed while drying is in progress.

This equipment will operate continuously 24 hours a day for 2 to 3 days, until the moisture level in the basement is satisfactory. During this time, please:


  • Do not unplug the equipment or turn it off.
  • Do not unplug the equipment or turn it off.

The cleaning technicians will return to check the equipment and take moisture readings. Please make arrangements to let them in for these checks. When the drying process is complete, they will remove all equipment from your property.



Closeup photo of a professional dryer in a basement
Drying equipment




MSD will send a customer service representative to inspect the cleanup after the basement is dry, and all the equipment has been removed. At that time, the representative will re-photograph the basement for documentation purposes.



Photo of a basement that has been cleaned
Basement that has been cleaned, with the bottom portion of dry wall removed.