Who Is Responsible For A Broken Sewer Pipe?
Here in the Atlanta, Georgia area - most homes are located in neighborhoods where the sewer lines are controlled by the local water company. BUT - the homeowner is responsible for the repair of sewer pipes that are located on their property.
So, the cost could be split between the two entities if there are problems found on the home owner's property and also outside of their property.
Is The City Responsible For Sewer Backups?
Normally, the city you live in is NOT responsible for sewer backups unless there is proof that the city was somehow negligent in either repairing, maintaining or the installation process of those sewer lines. Know that generally, in most cases that we have seen, the city of Atlanta and the cities surrounding Atlanta as well as the various utility companies are not held responsible for problems related to sewer backups on residential properties.
Homeowners insurance policies however do normally cover water damage that is caused by sewer backups - so that may help you.
How Do You Fix A Broken Sewer Line?
The methods used to fix broken sewer lines depends entirely on the location of where those broken pipes are AND the type of material the pipes are made of. There are a variety of pipes that have been used through the last few decades as sewer pipes and each one has their own set of criteria on how they can be repaired.
Here's what you need to know.
1. If the sewer line that needs to be repaired is under a concrete slab or driveway - there may be times that it will have to be physically dug up and repaired. Yes, that means destroying the concrete slab or driveway in order to do that. But know that there may also be times that we can use a trenchless method to do the job which would save you from this costly and time consuming trouble.
2. If your home was built in the 1930's or earlier - and you have not replaced your sewer lines you may still have the original clay pipes that were often used at that time for the sewer system. These pipes may be able to be repatched - depending on the amount of damage but you may want to consider repiping your home and updating your sewer line system. After all, even if the current damage to your clay pipe may be minor - it may also be a sign that more damage will be occurring along that sewer line system.
3. PVC pipes have a long lifespan and are more resistant to the invasion of tree roots than other pipe materials so normally, these types of pipes don't require replacing or repairing anytime soon but things do happen. To repair these the process would require either digging them up and repairing and/or replacing them or using the trenchless method.
4. Other pipe materials used in our area are polybutylene pipes and if those are found in your sewer line - they should be replaced immediately. They are a financial risk and a health risk. They have a life span of 10 to 15 years (the shortest of all plumbing pipes today) after which they begin to deteriorate. It becomes costly to replace your pipes in that short of a length of time. Because they are made of resin (a plastic) they pose a health risk to seniors, babies, children and adults with immune system disorders.
How Do You Know If Your Sewer Line Is Broken?
There are 4 main signals that tell you there is a broken sewer line in your home.
1. Gurgling sounds from your drains or toilets.
2. Water backing up out of drains or toilets.
3. Water pooling around drains or toilets.
4. Smell of raw sewage coming from your drains.
If you identify any of these signs in your home then we recommend that you call in a professional plumber right away. Delaying the call will only make the problem grow bigger which may end up costing you more to repair.
If you have any questions about sewer pipes or are having some problems with yours, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.