Sewer Back-up

DEALING WITH SEWERS & PREVENTING BACKUPS

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.

CONTACT INFORMATION:  If you experience a sewer problem, please call Waynesboro Borough Authority at (717) 762-2101 during normal working hours (Mon-Fri, 8-5) or 911 at other times and state that you are reporting a sewer emergency.  Backed up sewer lines, line breaks, sewage odors and overflowing manholes are considered an emergency.  CALL THE WAYNESBORO BOROUGH AUTHORITY FIRST before calling a plumber if you think you may have a problem.  We will check the sewer main and then inform you of our findings. There is no cost to you for the borough to check.  Of course, we would prefer that you call during normal work hours to save all of us the expense of overtime.  If the problem is not in the main line sewer or lateral, you will be advised to contact a plumber or sewer/drain cleaning service.

LATERAL vs. SEWER MAIN:   The lateral is the pipe that extends from the connection point through your yard and into the building.  The owner of the property is responsible for maintaining and cleaning the building sewer within the building as well as the lateral in the property up to the connection point.  A cleanout is required past the connection point and is considered part of the sewer lateral.  A sewer main is a pipeline, usually in the street or through a right-of-way, that transports the sewage from many homes and buildings to the wastewater treatment plant.  The Waynesboro Borough Authority is responsible for the sewer main line only.


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