Manholes are important access points to MSD's sewer lines – lines that serve thousands of homes and businesses across St. Louis City and County. As part of MSD Project Clear, nearly 15,000 manholes will be inspected each year, and will be repaired or replaced as needed.

What is a manhole?

Do you know of a manhole or manhole cover that needs attention? Contact us via email at [email protected], or call us at (314) 768-6260 to let us know!

Here’s a hint – it’s not just the cast iron circular plate you see on sidewalks, in roadways, or sometimes in lawns and parking lots. That cover is just an access point to a hollow column – made out of brick or concrete – that a worker can climb down into to access a wastewater or stormwater pipe! Manholes can be anywhere from three to twenty feet deep, and can access pipes from 4″ to more than 48″ in diameter. Having these access points is crucial in the event of a blockage, break, or backup nearby – because the manhole allows MSD to investigate and clear the issue without digging up the pipe. This means repairs can happen more quickly, and with less above-ground disturbance.

So if you see a manhole, please be sure not to block access to it. MSD has sometimes found entire flower beds on top of their manholes! This takes additional time and work to remove, which is the last thing you want when MSD needs to act quickly to correct a problem in the pipes beneath. Thank you for your help in preserving clear access to these important components of MSD’s system!