Last week, many houseowners in the neighborhood received a letter from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection about sewer maintenance and signing up for a protection plan serviced by American Water Resources. Many wondered, should we sign up? Why? Sewers are not really on most people’s mind until the basement has backed up.
So we decided to ask Eddie Grina of Victor Sewer and Drains some questions. Eddie has been in the business for over 25 years (the company has been in business for over 50), and he knows a thing or two about Brooklyn sewer lines.
Should a homeowner take DEP up on their offer?
YES, even if you never get a back-up, it’s a steal. Even at the higher rate that comes later, it’s a great deal – everyone should buy into this. The cost of sewer line replacement would be in the thousands. A one-year warranty is pretty standard. As for covered repairs, you would have to look at the policy and what is covered (this is more something the city and the third party have worked out).
What should I be doing as a responsible homeowner to maintain the lines in best condition? What if I have neglected maintenance for some years now? How much does it cost?
Maintenance is the best prevention – every six months you should have your sewer guy come in to do maintenance. The more it rains, the more potential for sewer trouble, so you want to have them cleaned before the spring rains and before the fall rains. Cost varies from $150-200, and it takes anywhere up from 20 minutes to get the job done, but call for a free estimate.
How often does one replace a sewer line?
Your sewer should last a lifetime – but depending on variables it could need replacing. It should certainly be on your home inspection. For many of the houses in this neighborhood that were built a hundred years ago, neglected maintenance and big trees can certainly have an impact.
What would cause one to replace a sewer line?
It’s usually root damage from trees, bad construction, or grease problems, these are what usually cracks a line.
How do I know if mine is damaged?
You would notice a back-up, in which case it’s an emergency and would require immediate attention. If sewage backs up into your basement, call sewer/plumber repair immediately – this qualifies as an emergency.
What if I have a corner property and I regularly get back-ups – could that be because the city is not maintaining the catch-basins?
Yes and no. It could be for the reasons above, and because the catch basins are not being maintained. The only way to be sure is to call a professional in to investigate. This should take care of itself if you are having regular maintenance.
For those of you who have postponed cleaning your sewer lines, call Eddie at 718-645-6711, mention you saw his ad on Ditmas Park Corner and you will get 10% off.
Image via NYCDEP