If there is a problem with my sewer line, do I have to repair it or does the City?

If there is a problem with your sewer line, it may be your responsibility to fix it. In the city of Toronto, sewer lines are divided into two portions: the city-owned portion, and the privately-owned portion. This means that the part of the sewer line that falls on your private property is your privately-owned portion. If there is an issue with this portion, you will be responsible to fix it. If the problem lies in the publicly-owned portion, repairs will be the City’s responsibility. At this point, you will have to contact the City to notify them of the problem. As with any repair, the sooner you isolate the problem and proceed with fixing it, the less damage will be caused, and the less expensive the job will be.

What kinds of problems can occur in my sewer line?

Sewer line problems can take many shapes and forms. Your sewer pipes may be cracked or broken, or even offset or sunken as a result of nearby tree roots, or even the ground freezing during winter. There may be a broken seal at the joint between two sections of pipe, due to the ground shifting or an invading root, causing leakage. Also, pipes can corrode and deteriorate after time, especially if they were constructed with sub-par materials. Pipes can also be blocked by objects that have been flushed down drains, or by substances that have accumulated over time, causing buildup.

What do I do once I’ve noticed a problem?

If you do have a problem with your sewer line, you need to call a professional plumber, like the ones at Waterman Inc. Sewer repairs are big jobs and require the right knowledge and equipment. You won’t want to start digging in your yard in an attempt to fix it yourself. Call a plumber who will be able to properly diagnose the problem, ensuring that the right fix is done the first time, saving you time and money. The plumber will likely use a camera in the pipes to locate the problem, whether it is a leak or an obstruction. Because pipes are mostly underground, the repair will most likely require excavating the yard in order to reach the pipes. This is the biggest part of the job; once the pipes are accessible, their replacement is often quick and inexpensive. Once the repair is complete, your yard will need to be cleaned up and any damage done to your home by the sewer problem will need to be repaired.

What else do I need to know?

Even though the privately-owned portion of your sewer line is your responsibility to fix, the job might require permits from the City. It is best if you contact the City to be sure, before you begin. Arranging all of the necessary paperwork ahead of time will save you headache later on. Also, depending on the size of the job and the damage to your home, you may need to make arrangements to stay elsewhere during the process, since you won’t be able to use your water during the process.




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I called several plumbing/drain companies for an estimate to unclogg my bathtub drain and Jim was the most reasonable in price. I found Jim to be very punctual, quick and efficient. I also had Jim quote on two much larger drain jobs, he took the time to professionally explain the scope of work needed with diagrams and gave a fair price.

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The owner, Jim, was recommended to us by a friend who had a damaged (roots) sewer line, as we did, and used his services. We have nothing but good things to say about Jim and his crew. From the onset Jim was prompt, straight forward and very transparent about options.

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