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Who is Responsible for Sewer Line Repair?

January 6, 2022

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In New Jersey, most single-family homes have their plumbing connected to a municipality's sewer system. Thus, homeowners must understand where their responsibility falls in case any issues arise from their sewer line.

A sewage line carries wastewater from homes to the city's treatment plant. It forms part of the municipality’s plumbing system, however, homeowners are responsible for specific portions of it, while the city is accountable for the other sections.

But is there a clear line that separates the system? And who is responsible for sewer line repair?

It may seem as straightforward as determining the part of the sewer line that falls within a homeowner's property, but it's not always the case. There may be sections of the sewer line not entirely under a homeowner's responsibility.

Read further to understand when the city or the resident should cover costs for repairs.

Who is Responsible for Sewer Line Repairs?

Many people believe that the municipality should handle the maintenance and repair of sewer lines running from their property perimeter to the main city sewers. And that they are only accountable for the pipes running from the property line into their house.

However, the city is mainly responsible for the sewer pipes transporting wastewater from the main underground sewer line to the treatment plant. The homeowner is equally liable for maintaining the lines connecting their home to the main sewer line.

Report the issue to the city MUA (Municipal Utilities Authority) immediately if the entire neighborhood is experiencing sewage problems or wastewater leaks from the pipes into the street. If parts of the primary sewer system need repairs, the city's maintenance crew will handle the repair.

So, who is responsible for sewer line repair if the problem involves a blocked sewer line or slow drainage isolated to a single property? For these instances, the homeowner is responsible for taking care of the inspection and repair of the issue as long as it involves the “lateral” or main pipe connecting the home to the municipal sewer line.

The homeowner should hire a sewer technician who will use a drain camera to assess the issue's location, severity and scope. But if the lower lateral pipe underneath the road has problems, the city will possibly get involved in the repair depending on local regulations. Even in these cases, the homeowner may still need to cover the cost of repairs.

Severe damage to the sewer line can be costly, but minor issues usually require a simple repair or drain cleaning.

How Much Does a Sewer Line Repair Cost?

Today, most homeowners spend between $2,250 and $5,750 when having their main sewer line repaired.. Depending on the length, width and quality of the required pipe, or if a large portion of the sewer line needs replacement, the cost can be as high as $30,000.

The industry-standard material used for repairing or replacing sewer lines is PVC because it is both cheap, clog-resistant and highly durable. Keep in mind that the cost of a sewer repair depends on several factors; such as length and depth of digging required, condition of the soil, and anything else that may add layers of complexity to the project.

Sewer Line Repair Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Preventable sewer line problems like sewage backup are the responsibility of the homeowner. However, if the cause is something beyond the property owner's control, insurance can cover it.  Some causes of sewer line repair covered by homeowners insurance include the following:

  •   Hailstorm
  •   Fire
  •   Lightning
  •   Volcanic eruption
  •   Explosion
  •   Civil disturbances
  •   Vandalism

Therefore, if the sewer line needs repair due to unexpected causes beyond their control, it’s a good idea to check with the insurance provider first to see if it falls under the coverage.  A good plumber will be able to assess coverage prior to moving forward with repairs to avoid having to wait for the insurance company to verify coverage.

Tips on How to Prevent Sewer Line Problems

Spending a few bucks on prevention is always better than having to shell out a considerable amount for repairs. The following can help keep your sewer line clear and unclogged:

  •   Use an enzyme drain cleaner at least once a month.
  •   Refrain from flushing sanitary napkins and wet wipes down the toilet.
  •   Avoid planting trees and other plants in proximity to the sewer line.
  •   Replace old pipes, like clay and lead, to prevent corrosion.
  •   Perform rooter cleaning at least once a year.

However, if the sewer line seems like it’s already damaged, it may be time to call in the specialists. At Alliance Service Pros, we offer you professional sewer line repair and replacement services that you can count on. Not only do we effectively deal with sewer line problems, we also perform enzyme and regular drain cleaning methods as a preventative measure as well. Inform the technician of telltale signs of a sewage problem, like water leaking in the yard or a foul odor coming from the drains. Our experts can quickly assess the situation and repair or replace it as needed.

Get a Better Handle on Sewer Line Problems

Plumbing and sewer line issues can affect everyone in the house – including pets. At the slightest indication of a sewage or drain problem, act fast and don't ignore it. Hiring experts can help quickly determine the root cause of the problem, resolve it and put an end to the disruptions in the household.

Avoid headache-causing problems with your sewer line. Call Alliance Service Pros today for a free estimate.

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