District News Articles

  1. 5/16/2017 You Fix My Service Line Right?
  2. Who is Responsible for Sanitary Sewer Service Lines?


    The District is frequently asked who is responsible to repair breaks on the sewer service pipes--the District or the customer?


    These are the pipes that extend between the District’s sewer mains, usually located in the street, and the customer’s residence or business. Under District regulations, which are consistent with most other Colorado sewer service providers, the customer owns and maintains the entire sewer pipe up to, and including, the connection to the District’s main, regardless of whether the pipe is located in the street or on the customer’s property. Therefore, the District does not provide any repair services on the sewer service pipe, whether located in the street or on the customer’s property.



    What do I do if I have a problem?


    Sewer backups can originate within the customer’s sewer service pipe or within Bow Mar's sewer main for a number of reasons. The most common cause of backups is tree roots growing into the customer’s service pipe. Occasionally, however, roots can also infiltrate the District’s sewer mains through individual service pipes or through pipe joints. Another common cause of backups is grease buildup in either customer or District owned pipes.


    To ensure proper operation of District owned sewer pipes, Bow Mar conducts an extensive routine preventive maintenance program consisting of periodic video inspection of all District sewer mains, root removal and high pressure water cleaning of those pipes determined to be in need of further maintenance.


    Given that sewer stoppages can occur in either pipe, what should a homeowner do if they experience a backup? Bow Mar encourages homeowners to contact the District at 303-979-2333 as soon as they become aware of any backup. An experienced system operator will be dispatched to the property and will determine whether the stoppage is located within the District’s pipe or the customer’s pipe. If the District’s pipe is functioning properly, the customer will be advised to retain a reputable sewer service contractor/plumber to clean the sewer service pipe. A follow up video inspection of the service pipe is also recommended to help determine the cause and likelihood of future problems in the pipe.


    If the stoppage is located in a District-owned pipe our operations service staff will immediately respond to clear the stoppage and restore normal flow. Customers who have incurred a backup of wastewater into their home will be offered an opportunity to have a company retained by the District remove wastewater as well as clean, sanitize, deodorize and dry the affected area. Private property damage and loss must be reported to the District’s insurance carrier who reviews the claim and determines whether the District is liable for the reported damages. Generally, sewer service providers with comprehensive maintenance programs are found to be not responsible for property damage, even when a stoppage occurs in the sewer main.


    In order to protect against sewer backup damage, Bow Mar strongly urges homeowners to carry sewer backup coverage as part of their homeowner’s insurance package. Some insurers include such coverage in their standard policy while others offer it as a rider to the normal policy (these insurers rely on homeowners to specifically request sewer backup coverage if it is desired). The District recommends that homeowners check their insurance policy regularly to determine whether or not their policy includes sewer backup coverage.


    Furthermore, to avoid sewer backups, and mitigate damage if a backup occurs, Bow Mar encourages homeowners to follow the recommendations listed below.


    Recommendations To Avoid Or Mitigate Damage From A Sewer Backup


    • Review homeowners insurance policy to verify coverage for sewer backups.

    • Do not plant deep rooted trees over, or immediately adjacent to sewer service pipes.

    • Do not wash grease, fats or oils from food preparation down the drain. Deposit these materials in the trash.

    • Periodically have your sewer service pipe video inspected by a reputable firm and clean the pipe when necessary.

    • Do not place valuable personal property on the floor close to a floor drain. Elevate such property at least a few inches off the floor or place it in plastic tubs.

    • Keep the telephone number for Bow Mar Water and Sanitation District and a reputable sewer service contractor handy in case you do experience a backup.