Montrose council implemented a new sewer blockage policy on Monday night that officially states residents are now responsible for any blockages of their sewer lateral line.
In the past, village works staff had entered residences to clear blockages of lateral lines but haven’t done so for the past couple of years, according to village CAO Kevin Chartres.
The official policy is a result of changing times, liability issues and prevention, he summed up.
“It’s not our pipe, it’s the homeowners pipe and they need to look after it,” he stated. “That’s the way everybody operates, that’s the way the legislation points. We’re just catching up.”
To his knowledge, he said in an e-mail that the village hadn’t faced any liability suits. The village has been considering the policy for several years now, and direction about how to deal with blocked sewage lateral lines was requested by public works staff.
According to the policy, the goal is to establish guidelines that will save the village unnecessary call-out costs and reduce risk to the village for insurance claims.
In his e-mail, Chartres said public works staff have told him that nine and a half times out of 10 the issue is in the lateral line and that the village doesn’t need to attend the call.
The village is still responsible for sewer main blockages.
Chartres said the cost for a resident to hire a plumber to check if the lateral line was blocked would be around $250.
If it is indeed the sewer main that is blocked, residents are asked to contact the village office without attempting to have any work done on the main themselves.