Preventative Maintenance and Emergency Response

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Sewage backup into building

To help prevent sewage blockage and backups avoid accumulation of grease, hair and solid materials that shouldn't be put into the system such as disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, etc. Such materials can cause major backups into the city lines as well. Leaves, dirt, sticks, rocks, trash, etc should not be allowed to go into manholes and catch basins as these materials cause blockage and damage to lines.

Emergency Response:
Call a plumber
or drain cleaning contractor to clear the pipe from the building to the city sewer main. If the plumber is unable to clear the pipe, call the Sewer Division at 617.349.4861, Monday- Friday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm or the Off-hours Division at 617.349.4860 any other time. For urgent matters, call the Operations Center at 617.349.4800. Please provide your name and phone number and the name and phone number of the plumber or drain cleaner. City personnel will check for blockages in the main line and clear any blockage found immediately.

Blocked Catch Basins:
Call the Sewer Division at 617.349.4861, or 617.349.4800, and leave your name, phone number and nearest address or street intersection of the catch basin. Catch basins are normally cleaned on the same day street sweeping occurs on that street. Catch basins that are completely blocked are cleaned within 48 hours of notification. Residents can assist Public Works by keeping catch basin grates clear of snow, ice, leaves, and debris, and by never putting leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste into a catch basin. After regular business hours, call 617.349.4800.

Call the Sewer Division at 617.349.4861 or the Public Works' main office at 617.349.4800 anytime you observe illegal dumping.

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm