Property Owner Responsibility for Water and Sewer Service Lines

sewer work WLWater and sewer customers are often unaware that they are responsible for sewer and water service lines which go from the utility connections at the street to their homes. The lines are located underground and often enter homes from beneath the basement floor. If these lines collapse, break or leak, repairs can necessitate ground excavation, basement floor removal/replacement and sometimes street repair/replacement. Repair and replacement of service lines can be expensive.

Due to the location of these service lines, most property owners are not in a position to know the condition of their service lines or even their composition. Service lines which were installed by builders have evolved in recent years. Depending on their age, buildings in the area may have orangeburg, cast iron, clay, tile, pvc or service lines comprised of other material. The composition of these lines can impact their longevity. In addition, the lines can be damaged in various ways including but not limited to root damage, settling, rust, decomposition and/or intrusion by surrounding soil content. While no service line is immune from the need for repair or replacement, older homes of course have older lines.

While service line failures are not widespread in Waukee, some residents may be interested in options available to mitigate potential costs should they experience the need for a service line repair or replacement. The City of Waukee is aware that warranties are offered in the private marketplace which may provide warranty coverage for water and sewer service lines. One such company is Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) which has been recommended by the National League of Cities and has been offering service line warranties nationally since 2003. SLWA currently provides warranties to residents in at least 50 cities in Iowa.

Residents interested in such warranty programs are encouraged to investigate and read any Service Line Warranty Program’s information carefully to determine the applicable coverage and exclusions and whether a warranty program is the right choice for you and your property. The City of Waukee would like to reiterate that participation in any such service line warranty is completely voluntary. The City is not affiliated, partnered or otherwise endorsing any service line warranty or company.

Questions can be directed to the Waukee Public Works Department at 515-978-7920.