Sewer Backups

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What Homeowners should know about Sewer Backups

Sewer back-ups are a problem that many residents may face if connected to a public sanitary sewer system. Because a sanitary sewer is not a closed system, problems will arise and therefore damages to homes and businesses are a very real possibility. It is possible to avoid some of these problems by becoming aware of information relative to sewer back-ups and making the necessary arrangements.

A city or county is generally not liable for resulting damages whenever a sewer backs up. All commercial insurance policies covering city or county governments do not automatically cover sewer back ups and coverage is dependent upon the city’s or county’s liability.

If your sewer line backs up please call the City of Smyrna Public Works Department at (770) 431-2850 or if after hours please call (770) 434-6666.  Public Works Department emergency crew will be dispatched to your location.

Money Well Spent

For the small price tag about $25.00 a year, much peace of mind may be obtained. That $25.00 is approximately what it costs you to buy or add to your homeowner’s insurance policy, sewer backup coverage. Many homeowners insurance coverage do not cover or include damages, both real and personal property should you experience a problem. Many homeowners’ insurance companies can provide this extra coverage for sewer back ups which would make it possible for a homeowner or business to protect their property from this risk.

Susceptible Locations

As sewer mains can backup due to unforeseen blockages so too can the customer service line and service tap. Structures located in susceptible locations will feel the direct affects of a sewer main or service blockage if one were to occur. A susceptible location - simply defined - is any structure which has a plumbing fixture, i.e. floor drain, toilet, shower drain or washing machine drain, located lower than the lowest manhole lid at or around the structures location.

Backwater Protection

Backwater protection is required by the International Plumbing Code and International Residential Code for one and two family dwellings. The code requires sanitary drainage piping (of your structure), serving fixtures that are located below the over-flow relief point of the sewer main to be protected from back flow of sewage by installing an approved type backwater valve. Contact your plumber for installation requirements or help.

Smyrna’s Role

In an effort to minimize problems associated with the backup of sewer into private homes, the City will reimburse property owners in at-risk locations for plumbing fees actually incurred up to $600.00 for the installation of a backwater valve. Requests must be made by the property owner in writing to the City’s Public Works Department before installation so that the City may determine if the location needs a sewer backwater valve. The property owner shall have the responsibility of obtaining a plumbing contractor to install a backwater valve. The plumbing contractor shall have the responsibility of permitting and inspection through the City. Once approval, installation, permitting and inspection are complete, the City will reimburse the property owner from proof of the paid invoice up to $600.00.