Basement Flooding & Sewer Backup Information

Sewer CoverBasement flooding is a source of frustration and stress for everyone involved. The City of East Lansing is a resource for information regarding the potential causes of flooding, the effects on your home, how to recover from the damage it may cause and steps you can try to reduce the risk of it recurring. If your basement floods, call the East Lansing Department of Public Works at (517) 337-9459 or (517) 351-4220 - option 1 (after-hours emergency calls). If you believe the flooding is due to a sewer backup, immediately discontinue household water use. 

For additional information and resources, view the following quick links:

Presentation on the August 12, 2021 Rain Event & Sewer Infrastructure Webinar

East Lansing Department of Public Works Acting Director Nicole McPherson recently provided a presentation to the East Lansing City Council on a rain event that took place on August 12, 2021, which caused some basement flooding and sewer backups in the East Lansing community.

In her presentation, McPherson covers some of the preventative things that homeowners can do to reduce the risk of basement flooding as these types of severe storms become more common.

A sewer infrastructure webinar was also hosted for residents on November 18, 2021.  

Public Act 222: Sewer Backup Legislation

The State of Michigan passed Public Act 222 in 2001, which clarifies the conditions under which municipalities may be liable for a sewer backup. Public Act 222 sets standards to determine the extent to which a municipality could be liable for backups and establishes a process that affected persons must follow to seek compensation when back-ups occur. It is important to note that the City is not responsible for private sewer lines (lines that run from the home up to and including the connection to the sewer main under the street); learn more. It's also important to note that each incident has its own unique set of circumstances, which may affect any type of claim settlement that may ensue.

Anyone making a claim for property damage or physical injury due to a sewer backup must prove that:

  • the public sewer had a defect
  • the governmental agency knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known about the defect.
  • the governmental agency having the legal authority did not take the reasonable steps in a reasonable amount of time to repair, correct or remedy the defect.
  • the defect was 50 percent or more of the cause of the event and property damage/physical injury.
  • they own and have related the value of the damaged personal property
If you think you have met all five of these criteria and intend to make a claim, you must file a written claim with the City of East Lansing within 45 days of discovery of the backup. Claim forms are available upon request by contacting Ron Lacasse at (517) 337-9459 or and must be mailed to:

City of East Lansing
Attn: Finance Department
410 Abbot Road
East Lansing, MI 48823

Sewer & Water Infrastructure

To safeguard public health, maintain quality of life and protect the environment, much of the City of East Lansing’s water and sewer pipes will need to be replaced and/or enlarged due to their age or limited capacity in the coming years. Learn more about water infrastructure.