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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago


Find the source of the water

If it is possible to do so safely, find out where the water is coming from.

  • Seepage is usually clear water coming in from cracks in basement walls and floors.
  • Sewer backups usually come from floor drains and plumbing fixtures in basements.
  • Overland flooding occurs when excessive rainfall causes local flood water to rise and enter your home through windows and doors.
  • Other water sources include plumbing leaks, roof leaks and malfunctioning sump pumps. Depending on the source, get help from a licensed professional. 


Notify your municipality

Contact your municipality if you are experiencing seepage, basement backups or overland flooding. Chicago residents can call 3-1-1, visit or use the CHI311 app. For suburban Cook County, please contact your local public works department. 

Your municipality owns and operates the neighborhood sewers that your home drains into. These municipal sewers flow into larger MWRD sewers. 

Your municipality will coordinate flood response efforts and can partner with the MWRD on stormwater management projects. So, it is important that your municipality knows when and where there is flooding.


Document damage and clean up safely

Follow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations on documenting damage, safety and cleanup.