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Household Hazardous Waste
Phosphorus and Nitrates
Sewer Lateral Repair
City Hall Annex Room 227
800 Center Street
Racine, WI 53403
Bills and Invoices
The Racine Wastewater Utility responds to emergency calls related to sewer backups in the City of Racine. It is important to note that this service is provided to the City under a service contract. The City of Racine is responsible for the sewer main in front of your home and your sewer lateral in the public right-of-way (not the Wastewater Utility). If wastewater staff verifies that the sewer main is flowing freely, they will advise you to contact the City for assistance. The City’s sanitary sewer lateral program is explained in the next few paragraphs.
The City of Racine has responsibility for sanitary sewer laterals which fail within the street right-of-way or city easement. Failures refer to structural defects such as a crushed lateral or severely offset joints, but do not include the cleaning or unclogging of the lateral due to roots, deposits or foreign materials. The City will pay for the reasonable cost of investigating the problem, but will not pay for previous cleanings, damage to the building or to its contents.
Residents pay for this service via a fee on your tax bill entitled “Sanitary Sewer Maintenance Fee” with an associated charge of $63.00 per year.
If the property owner is having a problem with their sanitary sewer lateral, the first step is to hire a plumbing contractor. If the plumbing contractor believes that a structural defect exists and that it is located beyond the property boundary in the street right-of-way or city easement, they are to contact the City Engineer’s office at 636-9191. If the City concurs that the problem is structural and located in the street, then the City will make the needed repairs AT NO COST to the property owner. If the plumber is equipped with a push camera this might help you prove your case to provide a video to the City Engineering department
If the City disagrees with the assessment of the plumbing contractor, the property owner must either gather additional data or make the needed repairs. The burden of proof rests with the property owner. If it is shown that the structural defect was not on private property, then the City of Racine will reimburse the property owner the cost of investigating the problem and the cost of the required repairs.
All problems on private property are still the responsibility of the property owner and must be paid for by the private property owners.
Beginning January 1, 2008, the City of Racine took over responsibility for structural failures of the lateral within the street right-of-way.
The homeowner is still responsible for the cleaning, removal of roots or deposits which may result in reduced flow or blockage of the lateral.
First and foremost, the property owner is no longer at risk of an unexpected major repair cost due to the failure of the sewer lateral which is located in the street right-of-way or city easement. Secondly, the City will proactively repair or replace suspect laterals in conjunction with major street projects. And, finally, the City will make repairs or replace the mainline sewer as its condition warrants.
The first step is to hire a plumbing contractor. The plumbing contractor will investigate the problem. If the plumbing contractor believes that a structural failure exists, and that it is located beyond the property line, they should contact the City Engineer's office at 636-9191.
If the City concurs that the problem is caused by a structural defect within the street right-of-way or city easement, then the City will make the needed repairs AT NO COST to the property owner.
More than 50% of the homes in the City of Racine are older than 75 years. The average life of a sewer lateral is 100 years. Therefore, if nothing changed, we predict a significant increase in lateral failures over the next 25 years.
If the problem is found not to be your property, the City will pay the reasonable cost to investigate and repair the problem. However, the City will not reimburse the cost of previous cleanings of the line or any damages caused to the building or its contents.
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