A sewer backup can create a stressful and emotional situation for the homeowner/renter. In some cases, it may cause health and safety concerns as well as significant property loss. A proper response to a sewer backup can greatly minimize property damage and diminish the threat of illness.
The Waynesboro Borough Authority makes every effort to be responsive to residents’ needs and concerns when a sewer backup occurs. Waynesboro Borough Authority has a crew whose main duty is to inspect, clean and maintain sewers. Unfortunately, because a sewer is not a closed system, many things that are put into the sewer can clog the system. Large amounts of grease from homes and disposable diapers are two common items that cause problems. Another problem is tree roots, which can grow into and obstruct the system.
While Waynesboro Borough Authority has adopted rules prohibiting the discharge of any substance likely to cause a sewer obstruction, and we try to educate the public about the problems they cause, there is really no way we can absolutely prevent this from happening. Many factors can cause backups and they are beyond the scope of normal maintenance. Many homeowners’ insurance policies exclude damage resulting from sewer backups. However, some insurance companies do provide sewer backup coverage. If you are concerned about the possibility of a sewer backup and want to assure that you are covered, we urge you to check with your home insurer regarding the availability of sewer backup insurance, and include cleanup costs as well as repairs and replacement. Courts have determined that local governments are liable only if there is negligent operation of a system. A local government cannot guarantee that a public system will not backup. Items such as disposable diapers and grease (as well as toys and dentures) that are placed into the system by residents and businesses can cause unavoidable backups despite regular maintenance and cleaning of lines. If you use your basement for storage of valuable antiques or spend a lot of money refinishing that basement, get that extra insurance! Also, you may want to check with your plumber about installing a backwater valve. It may cost you several hundred dollars but it may save your basement.