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Jun 17 2024

When Is the City Responsible for Sewer Lines?

In the United States, most homes are connected to a centralized sewer system managed by the city or municipality. This setup ensures that wastewater is effectively carried away from homes, treated, and then safely returned to the environment.

As a homeowner, you pay monthly sewer bills, and in return, the city handles the bulk of the maintenance, repairs, replacements, and other essential work. However, there are parts of the sewer system that fall under the homeowner’s responsibility.

Understanding where your responsibilities begin, and end, can save you a lot of hassle and unexpected costs. We break it down in this brief article brought to you by Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air. Give us a call whenever you need a uniformed and trained plumber.

What the city or municipality manages

The centralized sewer system is a complex network of pipes, pumps, and treatment facilities designed to manage wastewater from numerous homes and businesses. Here’s what the city typically takes care of:

  • Sewer Mains: These large pipes run under streets and highways, collecting wastewater from the entire community. The city is responsible for their maintenance, repair, and replacement.
  • Sewage Treatment Plants: Once the wastewater reaches the treatment plant, the city ensures it’s properly treated to remove contaminants and pollutants before releasing it back into the environment. This involves complex processes and strict adherence to environmental regulations.
  • Public Infrastructure: All the components of the sewer system that are in public spaces, including manholes, pumping stations, and any equipment housed on public property, are maintained by the city.

What about the homeowner’s responsibility?

While the city handles a significant portion of the sewer infrastructure, homeowners are responsible for the sewer lines and components on the private property. Here’s what you need to know about your responsibilities:

  • Sewer Lateral: The sewer lateral is the pipe that connects your home’s plumbing to the main sewer line. It typically runs underground from your house to the street or the edge of your property line.
  • Cleanouts: These are access points that allow for the removal of blockages in your sewer lateral. These are also your responsibility.
  • Routine Maintenance: The sewer lateral needs regular maintenance to function properly. This might include periodic inspections, using drain cleaners to prevent clogs, and being mindful of what you flush down the toilet or pour down the drain.

What to do if you have a sewer line problem

A sewer line replacement is the last thing you want to worry about on a Sunday afternoon, and it should not be a concern for decades to come – that is, if you are keeping up with routine plumbing service.

Still, the forces of mother nature and chance can take their toll. What do you do if disaster strikes? First, identify the problem. Common issues include blockages, leaks, tree root infiltrations, and pipe deterioration.

Next, determine whether the issue is isolated to your property. Ask neighbors if they are having a similar problem. If they are, then the issue may be with the public portion of the sewer system. If the problem is only on your property, then it’s time to arrange a sewer repair.

Looking for uniformed plumbers?

If you need urgent assistance with a sewer line, then leave the work to uniformed and reputable professionals. Rooter Hero is a time-tested and established business with decades of industry experience, and our local plumbers are on standby to take your call or message today.

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