|Posted:||December 8, 2016 11:52 AM|
|From:||Senator Wayne D. Fontana|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Private Sewer Lateral Line Repair|
|A sewer lateral is an underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the publicly-owned main sewer line. Many home owners are unaware that they own and are responsible for the sewer laterals that are on their property. More recently, local municipalities have come across problems when privately owned sewer laterals are compromised and need repair. These repairs are often essential for human health and safety; however, they come at a steep cost with many home owners unable or unwilling to pay.
The problem lies in what is known as I & I which is infiltration and inflow. When you have broken laterals, I & I of contaminated water or sewage enters into the clean part of the system instead of staying out of it. Identifying and removing I & I from our aging collection system is absolutely necessary because not only are they a cause potholes or sinkholes, but also pose a risk to residents’ health and safety.
Addressing sewer lateral issues has become a challenge across the state, particularly for local municipalities, since prices for repairs range between $5,000 and $35,000. Furthermore, many authorities have found very few homeowners comply with the requirement to make these necessary repairs, thus compromising our sewer system even more.
I plan on reintroducing legislation that would allow municipalities and municipal authorities to make public funds available to repair or replace broken laterals on private property when the leaks pose a threat to the public health or safety. It is important to highlight that this legislation does not force any municipality to participate and would only be an enabling bill. It would be up to each and every local water authority to decide if they want to designate public funding for such a cause and determine the guidelines for eligibility for such a program.
I would also like to point out that a form of this legislation has been introduced by numerous members from both political parties for over 20 years. During the 2015-16 session, cosponsors to this bill included Senators Yudichak, Hughes, Schwank, Boscola, Costa, Williams, Tartaglione, Brewster and Bartolotta.
I hope you will consider joining me in offering a reasonable avenue for municipalities to assist homeowners.
Introduced as SB334