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Wastewater (Sewer) Service Line Ownership, Responsibility and Repair#

Wastewater service line ownership and responsibility illustration

Click to enlarge.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding wastewater infrastructure is that the utility provider will make the repairs and pay for the associated damages. However, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair the wastewater (sanitary sewer) service line that runs from their home or building to the City’s sewer mains in the street, as well any resulting damages.

Typical maintenance and repair issues include:

  • Blockage or backup – commonly caused by tree roots; fats, oils and grease; baby wipes or other paper products. Learn more about common causes and how to prevent blockages and backups.
  • Infiltration – cracks in the pipe, allowing groundwater into the system.

Property owners are responsible for:

  • Maintenance and repairs to the wastewater/sewer service line from the sewer tap to the service address, as well as plumbing lines and services inside the building (see graphic)
  • Associated property damage
  • Locating the sewer service line/tap (call 811)
  • Notifying Fort Collins Utilities when cutting tree roots, so Utilities can also wash out the main sewer lines in the area to avoid further backups (call 970-222-1862)

Fort Collins Utilities is responsible for:

  • Maintenance and repairs to the wastewater/sewer main and manholes, as well as associated street and/or property damage
  • Responding to customer calls regarding sewer blockages by washing the main sewer line
  • Locating the sewer main

View City Code on this topic.

Reporting a Blockage or Backup

If you have a blockage or backup, call a plumber so repairs can be made as quickly as possible, as well as Fort Collins Utilities (970-221-6700) to report the issue and your insurance company for further direction.

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