Sewer Backup Policy

Sewer Backup 

From time to time, the sewer may backup into a structure. To help prevent this, we suggest you have a backflow prevention valve installed on your sewer line if one is not already installed. These devices are designed to help prevent sewage coming back into the house when a blockage or pressure is caused in the sewer line. Many plumbing companies can assist in the installation process of a backflow valve.

The City of Marengo understands the frustration caused by a sewer backup issue. We have a sewer backup policy in place addressing how these issues are handled. The complete policy can be seen below.

Please note, the city's insurance has historcially not covered claims submitted regarding sewer backups. Due to this fact, we suggest you first attempt to file a claim through your homeowner's insurance as some policies have backup coverage. As detailed in the policy, the city will not further consider a claim the insurance carrier denies.



General Guidelines Regarding Sewer Backup

The City of Marengo acknowledges that from time to time residents experience sewer backup due to typical problems associated with sewers. These problems include tree roots, clogs or buildup in the line, foreign objects being introduced into the sewer, etc.  City staff makes reasonable attempts to anticipate problem areas and monitor them to minimize damage and inconvenience to citizens. When obstructions are discovered, city staff makes every reasonable attempt to identify and clear them as quickly as possible.

Due to the nature of a sewer system, it is not reasonable for the city to reimburse property owners in the event they experience sewer backup. Incidents must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in order to determine the city’s liability for the damage and responsibility to reimburse.

Citizens can expect the following actions from the city in the event of a sewer backup problem:

  • Respond in a timely manner to notification of a problem. Day and time are a factor in response time.
  • Work with resident(s) in a timely manner to determine the cause of the problem.
  • Take reasonable remedial action to address current conditions and to prevent future backups.
  • Any request for reimbursement for sewer backup damages submitted at city hall will be filed with the city’s insurance carrier. The city will not further consider a claim the insurance carrier denies.

If it is determined that there is not a backup in the city sewer main, residents may choose to have their line checked by a plumber; the residents are responsible to contact the plumber. It is not the city’s responsibility to check lines from the main to buildings. The city is willing to check mains prior to a resident calling a plumber.

In the event there is a backup in a building, reasonable effort will be made to locate the owner or other responsible party. If it is determined the city main is clear and backup persists at the building, city staff, after reasonable consideration of all factors may call a plumber for the property owner and the property owner will be responsible for the resulting charges. 


To view or print a pdf version of this policy, please click here.