Emergency Information

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Who to Call

If you have a water or sewer emergency, please call the Utilities Office before calling a plumber.

Although Utility customers are responsible for correcting any problems in the sewer service lateral, from the connection at the sewer main in the street up to the building, if you experience a sewer backup and call the Utilities office, they will dispatch a maintenance crew to your address to determine if the stoppage is in the City sewer main or the private sewer lateral. If the City main is found to be clear, it is the responsibility of the property owner to call a plumber or sewer/drain cleaning service to correct the problem. The property owner is responsible for maintaining adequate flow to and through the sewer lateral from the property structure to and into the City sewer main. If the blockage is in the City main we will fix it as quickly as possible. For information on how to reduce blockages, see our What NOT to Flush Page.

As for the water service lateral, utility customers are responsible from the building, out to the curb box which is typically located in the sidewalk or boulevard, a few feet from the street. The property owner is also responsible for all internal plumbing connected to the water meter. If a water service issue occurs, contact the La Crosse Utilities Office, and utility staff will be dispatched to your property at a scheduled time to investigate. If a water service lateral leak is found, the utility will determine if the leak is on the utility side or on the owner side. If the leak is on the owner side, the owner must contact a plumber to make the necessary repairs. If the leak is on the utility side, the utility will schedule the repair as quickly as possible.

If during the investigation, utility staff find that a water meter is damaged or destroyed, the property owner will be responsible for the labor and materials required to repair and/or replace the water meter.

View Owner Maintenance Responsibilities for additional information.

Emergency Numbers

During normal business hours - 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday:

  • Water, Sewer or Stormwater: (608) 789-7536

After 5:00pm on weekdays, as well as weekends and holidays:

  • Water Utility: (608) 789-7388
  • Sewer & Stormwater Utility: (608) 789-7330

What constitutes an emergency?


  • Water bubbling up in street, sidewalk or yard
  • No water to the home (with no prior utility notice)
  • Water entering basement
  • Leaking unattended hydrant
  • Suspicious activity such as unauthorized use of fire hydrants

Sanitary Sewer

  • Backed up sewer lines
  • Missing Manhole covers
  • Overflowing manhole
  • Strong sewage odors


  • Missing manhole covers or catch basin grates
  • Flooding (During a heavy rain event, some street flooding may result. If flooding remains for an extended period of time, it is likely utility staff have been dispatched to monitor the situation)
  • Suspicious activity such as dumping material into catch basins

Typical Questions:

Low Water Pressure
f you are experiencing lower pressure than usual, check to see if the pressure is low at other water connections in your home or business. If you find the other faucets have normal pressure, then it is an internal issue that you would need to investigate further or contact a plumber if you wish. If all of the faucets have low pressure, then call the Water Utility.

Discolored Water
If you are currently experiencing discolored water, run cold water for about one minute at various faucets. If the cold water runs clear, shut off the cold water and let the hot water run for a minute. If the hot water is still discolored, your hot water heater may need to be purged. If the cold water remains discolored, call the Water Utility.

No Water
If you turn on a faucet and find you have no water, try another faucet in your home. If you find you do have water at a second faucet, you have an internal problem. If you find no water at the second faucet, call the Water Utility.

Leak in Street
If you notice water bubbling up in the street or sidewalk, call the Water Utility.

Leaking Fire Hydrant
If you notice a leaking fire hydrant, call the Water Utility.