When your home plumbing system connects with a municipal sewage system, confusion can arise as to who is responsible for what part of the system.

The sewage line is part of the system that carries wastewater from your home, through plumbing to the city’s treatment plant. Part of that system falls under the responsibility of the city while the other part is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Determining responsibility may seem as simple as drawing a property line in the proverbial sand, but the sewer line contains specific components owned by the homeowner that may not necessarily fall within the property line.

Who is Responsible for Sewer Line Repairs?

The common belief is that the city is responsible for maintaining and fixing pipes that run from your property line to the municipal water main and sewers. Alternatively, homeowners are responsible for the lines that run from the property line into the home.

This is not entirely accurate, however, since the city is only responsible for the sewer line starting at the main underground sewer pipe that carries waste and wastewater to the city’s treatment plant.

Homeowners are expected to take care of any pipes that connect to this main line.

The key to understanding where sewer line repair responsibility begins and ends for homeowners, it’s important to know what upper and lower lateral pipes are.

Upper and Lower Lateral Pipes

When it comes to the pipes that run from your home to the main sewer line, there are 2 sections: the upper lateral and lower lateral.

The upper lateral pipe contains the clean-out for your house and at your property line.

The lower lateral pipe runs from your property line to the main sewer line. This may cause controversy regarding repair responsibility since this piece of pipe is not necessarily located on the homeowner’s property – but it is still the responsibility of the homeowner.

Overall, the homeowner is responsible for sewer line repairs from the beginning of the upper lateral pipe to the end of the lower lateral pipe.

Repairing Sewer Lines

When the City is Responsible

When there is an issue with the municipality’s main sewer line, you will likely notice sewage in the street or that your neighbours are experiencing sewage stoppages at the same time.

In any of those cases, contact your city to report the issue. Wastewater crews will check the city sewer systems and send a maintenance crew if repairs are necessary.

When the Homeowner is Responsible

If the sewer line repair falls onto the homeowner, they are responsible for having the issue inspected in order to determine the problem and its location.

Sewer line damage can be expensive but some problems can be fixed with a sewer line cleaning or simple repair.

Whenever you experience slow drainage or suspect that your sewer line is blocked or broken, contact a sewer technician. These experts can perform a drain camera inspection to diagnose the issue.

Should the issue exist in the lower lateral pipe, the city is likely to become involved in the repair if the issue exists under the road or sidewalk.

Even if the city is involved, the homeowner is still responsible for repair costs.

Does Your Sewer Line Need to Be Repaired?

If you are experiencing sewer line blockages and want to find out where the problem lies (and whose responsibility it is), contact our expert sewer technicians at Peak Sewer to book your appointment today! We will use specialized equipment to thoroughly inspect your sewer line and determine the cause and location of the problem.

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