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Sewer Backup



From : Jerry Heimlicher City Councilmember


Prior to these new rules, if a main line sewer line backed up and caused extensive damage to homes, the policy was a review by the city’s risk department to determine responsibility. This review was, in my opinion, a very loose review with few specific guidelines to follow. The recent back-ups in Old Colorado City and in Shooks Run provided new visibility to this process and caused the council to act unanimously.


If a sewer back-up occurs in the service line under the home owners property (the distance between the home and the connection to the sewer main) the home owner is responsible for all costs. This is not a change of policy from the old rules.

If the backup occurs in the sewer main beyond the home owners property, the homeowner is NOT RESPONSIBLE ONLY IF the homeowner has had the service line on their property between the house and the main cleaned by a professional within the last two years prior to the back-up in the main line. In other words, if a homeowner has the service line cleaned every two years, they will not be responsible for any main line sewer line back-ups. This is a major change and protects those who make the relatively small investment to have their service lines cleaned. This procedure is often referred to as a roto-rooter which sometimes includes chemicals. The estimated cost of this professional procedure is generally less than $100.00.

The most at risk parts of our community are the older homes. Many homes in Old Colorado City, Shooks Run and the Old North End are serviced by sewer lines that are approximately one hundred years old. However, main sewer line back-ups can occur in newer developments in town. All homeowners should be aware of these new rules and take action as they deem appropriate for their situations.

If a professional company comes out to treat and clean the service line, the homeowner must save the bill for the service in a secure place in case of a back-up. It must be noted that do-it-yourself service line cleanings do not qualify for the new policy. It must be professionally cleaned.

If a homeowner has not had the service line cleaned within two years prior to a main line back-up, the old rules will apply and an investigation will be made to determine fault and responsibility.

I urge all neighborhood associations to notify their membership of the new rules. There will be an extensive educational program on the part of utilities to inform the public of these changes.


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