Sewer Lateral Program Updates

In January, the Board of Alderman approved some minor updates to the City's Sewer Lateral Program - but first let's review a few things about this program...

Eligible Repairs - Most of our homes were built in the 60's or earlier and the clay sewer pipes are getting pretty old. While normal maintenance and clean-out costs are not covered, the purpose of this program is to cover the costs associated with broken or collapsed sewer lateral pipes.

Determining if you have an eligible repair - The sewer lateral program has defined several conditions that residents must meet before the city will consider paying for a repair. Examples include:

  • Blocked sewer lateral that can not be cleaned
  • Clear evidence in the yard - sink holes, etc.
  • Receipts showing 3 or more cleanouts needed within 18 months
  • Resident supplied video from their plumber clearly showing a broken/collapsed pipe

New Updates - While those conditions still apply, the program has been updated such that when the city determines that an eligible repair is needed, they will reimburse the homeowner for the costs of the last cleanout and video investigation - up to a predetermined amount. In the past, the city would not reimburse the homeowner for these costs.

One other change made to the policy allows a homeowner to appeal a rejected application within 30 days after the decision.

It's worth noting that not all videos submitted to the city clearly show a break in the pipe. If you hire a plumber to perform a video investigation make sure that the video CLEARLY shows the break in the pipe. If not, your request will likely be denied. The city currently contracts with Tope Plumbing ( for video inspections, so they are aware of the requirements of this program and might be a contractor to consider for this service.

For more information on the Sewer Lateral Program, you can visit the Sewer Lateral page on the City's website.