District News Articles

  2. 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 that can occur in either customer or District owned pipes.


    To ensure proper operation of District owned sewer pipes, Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District (the District’s maintenance contractor) conducts an extensive routine preventive maintenance program consisting of periodic video inspection of all District sewer mains and root removal and high pressure water cleaning of those pipes determined to be in need of further maintenance. The District is only responsible for operation and maintenance of sewer mains which are usually located in the street in front of residential properties. Homeowners are responsible for maintenance of the connection to the District’s sewer main and all of the pipe that extends between the connection and the property receiving service.


    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 as soon as they become aware of the backup. An experienced system operator will be dispatched to the property and will determine whether the stoppage is located in 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 roto-rooter service 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 advised to retain a company to remove wastewater and clean, sanitize, deodorize and dry the affected area. The District will reimburse homeowners for limited cleaning services.  Additional 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 the homeowner to specifically request sewer backup coverage if it is desired. Do not wait for a sewer backup to occur before you determine if your insurance policy contains sewer backup coverage!


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