We receive a lot of calls from customers who are unaware that sewer maintenance is their responsibility until it becomes a problem. "It's not us; it's you." If you call your utility company to come fix a problem with your sewer, that's most likely what you're going to hear.
Homeowners hear these five words far more often than they might expect to. Unfortunately, it's extremely common for new first-time homeowners to expect sewer repair to fall on someone else.
Buying a new home is stressful enough. Unexpectedly finding out you are also responsible for a multi-thousand dollar sewer repair job is worse. These are things you wish you would have known before buying! These are a few of the questions we are most frequently asked in the office...
But how is it my problem? Why is the sewer my responsibility?
The most common misconception is that the city is responsible for your sewer. You might not know it, but every home has its own sewer that leads to the city main sewer. The city sewer is maintained by the city. Your home's sewer is your responsibility, and can be maintained with the help of a professional, licensed plumber.
But it isn't inside my house! Why do I need to maintain the sewer? What do I need to do?
Maintaining your sewer is your responsibility the same way that maintaining your lawn is your responsibility. If you don't cut your grass, you're going to hear about it from the health department. If you don't maintain your sewer and it collapses, you will have raw sewage backing up out of your drains.
Basically, you have no choice but to maintain your sewer. If the line has collapsed, there's nowhere for that sewage to go but back into your home.
If I'm having problems, wouldn't my neighbors be having the same ones?
Not necessarily. If your sewer line has collapsed, it most likely won't be affecting your neighbors, since you have separate sewers... They probably won't even know you're having issues, but you will definitely know.
If you continuously have clogged drains, toilets constantly backing up, or a strong sewer smell in your home, something's wrong. These problems won't always be a constant throughout your neighborhood.
Since you have your own separate sewer, if it needs repaired, that doesn't mean your neighbor's sewer needs repaired as well. It's literally the same thing as having your drains cleared. If you have a clogged toilet, you have to clear the clog. Just because your toilet is clogged, that doesn't mean the whole neighborhood's toilets are clogged.