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Old 05-16-2015, 09:49 AM   #1
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How can I make sure sewer responsibility is fairly assessed


Hi all,
I just noticed, while cutting my lawn that directly borders the road I live on, a developing depression directly inline with the sewer line vent from my house. It appears to be about 2 ft in circumference and about a foot deep right at the road edge. I'm going to report it to the sewer authority but need advice to make sure the authority does not put the entire issue as an expense to me, if they should be held responsible. It appears that, if there is a break in the line, that it may be at the junction of my line and the sewer main that travels down this road. What would be the best approach to proceed in order to protect my interests. Thanks for any input.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:09 AM   #2
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A starting point is to determine which party is responsible for the pipe.
Around my area the homeowner is required to pick up the tab on any part of the lateral line. Doesn't matter if it's under the street or not.
I've heard others here say that their sewer district picked up the tab.
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:40 AM   #3
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Here in NW WI we are responsible for everything up to and including the connection to the city's main line.

Really stinks on my block. All our houses (7 of them) are connected to a 'private sewer main' that runs 10' under our shared alley way. The city will only assume responsibility at the manhole in the street at the end of the alley. So if the 108 yr old 'private main' collapses under the alley, we (the homeowners) have to hire out the job and figure out how to pay for it. The city estimates the job to replace the main (and not the laterals to each house) at about $80,000.

So, as Eplumber said, it really depends on how your sewer district handles such things.
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Old 05-16-2015, 03:20 PM   #4
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I'm not positive but am fairly sure that here the owner's responsibility ends at the curb (for older installs under the streets) or at the tap (for newer areas where the lines are in the yards).
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colbyt View Post
I'm not positive but am fairly sure that here the owner's responsibility ends at the curb (for older installs under the streets) or at the tap (for newer areas where the lines are in the yards).
No answer is absolute. Different locales have different policies, ask your local sewer authority.
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Old 05-16-2015, 05:56 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the reply. I know that lateral lines are my responsibility but I'll have to find out about fitting into the main. Kind of sucks that they have to do the connection but may not take responsibility for it if it fails. I guess I'll just have to stand watch as they open it up. Thanks again.
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottfarkus
Thanks all for the reply. I know that lateral lines are my responsibility but I'll have to find out about fitting into the main. Kind of sucks that they have to do the connection but may not take responsibility for it if it fails. I guess I'll just have to stand watch as they open it up. Thanks again.
I agree. Here, your hired plumber has to do the connection to the main, BUT it has to be inspected by the guys from the Environmental Services Dept before backfilling. And the permit cost is pretty high too.

There's a house about 10 blocks down that had their lateral collapse last summer. It's in the middle of an oddly shaped block that got bisected by a road during reconstruction. It's the only house on that new little block. Their trench ended up being 250' long, 6' deep at the house and then the mainline was at 18' deep. They had to take out a second mortgage. Their lateral was a 12" pipe, too, as it used to service a whole block of homes 80 years ago. Eek.
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