Report A Back Up
On occasion, a utility customer will encounter a backup of wastewater into their residence. Residents are advised to contact GLASWA as soon as a backup or potential backup is developing. Residents should call GLASWA at 269-672-5588. An answering machine will provide a contact number for an emergency if calling after hours. Once GLASWA is notified, we will check the system, and will clean/repair it if needed. If the main is “running clear” and is not blocked, the homeowner will be notified that it is a problem in their sewer lateral or service. The homeowner is responsible for their gravity lateral or service from their home to the main.
New Sewer Liability Law Requires Local Action – On January 2, 2002 Gov. Engler signed into action Public Act 222 which changes the way local units of government are held liable for sewer basement backups. Instead of strict liability, local units can now only be liable under certain circumstances. Specifically, if a defect in the system is 50% or more of the cause of the backup event resulting in property damage or physical injury. The new law sets up a procedure for claimants to notify GLASWA of their claim and also sets requirements that we must follow during the claim process. Please contact our office verbally or in writing within 45 days in the event of a sewer backup. Law requires that Municipalities provide their customers with this information. Please note that this does, however, make it more difficult for the homeowner to prove a claim. GLASWA recommends you check your homeowners policy to make sure you have sewer back up coverage on your insurance policy.
For most consumers, coverage for sewer-related problems must be purchased either as a separate product or as an addition to a homeowners policy. Fortunately, sewer backup coverage is available from most insurance companies for a nominal cost. GLASWA recommends that customers on our system err on the side of caution and purchase this additional insurance.
How You Can Prevent Sewer Line Backups:
There are several preventive measures homeowners can take to minimize the occurrence sewer line backups.
- Proper Disposal of Grease and Food: Grease, fats, gravies, sauces and cooking oils should never go down your kitchen drain but should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of in the garbage. Once in your drain, these substances will cool off and solidify either in the drain or in the main sewer, eventually building up to a massive clog. Food particles should never go down the drain unless run through a garbage disposal first.
- Proper Disposal of Paper Products Properly: Toilet paper and human waste is the only thing that should go down your toilet. Diapers, paper towels, feminine products and food should never be flushed; these products do not deteriorate and can easily clog your main sewer line. Even facial tissue should be avoided; it does not dissolve as easily as bathroom tissue does.
- Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: These fixtures are installed into a sewer line in the basement of your home to prevent sewer backups. They allow sewage to go out, but not to come back in.