Side Sewers Are Quickly Becoming a Nightmare for Seattle Homeowners

Side Sewers Are Quickly Becoming a Nightmare for Seattle Homeowners

When you are a owner of a older home, maintenance is inevitable. Side sewers carry wastewater from the home to the main public sewer. When there is a fault that occurs with the side sewer, raw sewage backs up into the home. Homes built in the early 1900s are affected by these horrid side sewers, and unfortunately, they are the full responsibility of the homeowner, not the city. This is causing havoc in Seattle, as homeowners everywhere are asking themselves how this happened, why are they responsible, and how can they can fix it.

How did this happen?

In 2015, raw sewage was found trickling down a public stairway. This sewage came from a failed attempt to snake drains in a seven-unit apartment. Everytime a toilet was flushed, raw sewage ejected onto the public stairway at 11th Avenue West and Gilman Drive West. City workers noticed that the pipes were damaged and the damage could have been caused by heavy rains because these pipes were made of PVC material, not concrete.

Usually, this issue is found and fixed as the property is being sold. The lifespan of a concrete pipe is approximately 80 years and as the age of the pipes increase more and more are dilapidating and causing sewage backups.

Why do I have to fix it?

You would think that this issue is a issue for the city to fix, but it isn’t. Unlike most cities, Seattle doesn’t maintain these side sewer pipes—it is the responsibility of the homeowner. Even if the pipes are under the sidewalk or street, it is the homeowner who will be on the line if an issue occurs. Side sewers can cause a rat infestation, as rats can enter homes through the toilets and start infesting houses. Sinkholes are another major concern since they have been known to swallow homes and leave no survivors. Don’t put your family in danger by leaving the side sewers unfixed.

How can I fix my side sewer?

Only a contractor who is registered and knowledgeable in sewer repair in Seattle can repair your home. Because the pipes are connected to the main sewer system, it is important for the contractors to be licensed and registered. Half of Seattle’s homes were built before 1961, so you are not alone.Repairing these breaks can be life threatening, as sinkholes can occur and trenches can cave. Even if your home is new, be weary of the sewer system because even newer pipes can get compromised by the amount of heavy rainfalls in Seattle.

Not only are homeowners responsible for repairing the side sewers, they are also responsible for the cost of digging up and resealing the city street or sidewalks. The digging cost alone can barrel the costs of repair from $10,000 to up to $40,000. Homeowner insurance typically only covers the cost of pipes inside and under the home, but not the section between the property and the main sewer line.

The side sewer epidemic in Seattle is a nightmare not only because of the dangers of sinkholes and rats coming out of the toilets, but because of the high cost of repair. Homeowners have to worry about the cost of digging and repairing the city streets, as well as the damage done to their own homes. The only good solution to this issue is to stay on top of the problem and know when to call a professional to fix the side sewer.