Boston program may help repair sewer connections

Boston program may help repair sewer connections

Submitted by Joseph Wood, owner of Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating

Boston Standard Plumbing in Dorchester, Mass. "Tree roots often invade a sewer connection and can break or crush the lateral drain."

According to Wood, a sewage backup is often the first sign of serious trouble, but by the time a sewer connection backs up into the house, major damage to the lateral drain has already occurred. "At the point where the lateral drain becomes completely blocked, tree roots have usually crushed the lateral sewer connection. Repairing the problem usually requires mechanical removal of the surrounding tree roots and replacement or repair of the lateral drain." Unfortunately, says Wood, the cost of replacing the lateral drain can be significant.

Wood says that while replacing a lateral drain is a major expense, Boston homeowners may qualify for some financial relief on the cost of this kind of repair. "The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) has a program that may help reduce the cost of fixing or replacing broken lateral sewer connections," and Wood says the program may even pay for the full cost of replacing the lateral drain.

Not every break in a lateral sewer will qualify for financial assistance from the BWSC, but the repair costs for some breaks may be partially or fully covered by a $3,000 grant. Qualifying lateral sewer breaks are those where:

  • The lateral sewer or drain is partially or completely collapsed
  • The collapse or blockage is located in the public right-of-way

There are a few additional qualifications. The building owner’s account with BWSC must be current, and buildings that have previously received grants to repair blocked or collapsed sewers are not eligible for additional assistance.

The first step in diagnosing and correcting the problem is to call a licensed Boston plumber, like Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating. If we cannot clear the blockage, BWSC will come out to verify the blockage or collapse and determine where the problem exists. If the problem is in the right-of-way, BWSC will provide eligible homeowners with additional information explaining the program, and how they can get qualified sewer connections repaired. Once the repairs have been completed, BWSC must come back out to your property to inspect the work.

To qualify for assistance, homeowners must allow BWSC to inspect the lateral sewer connection when the problem is discovered. This is important, since BWSC grants cannot be paid retroactively. Under the terms of the program, the property owner may be required to get multiple quotes for repair, and is responsible for paying for the work up front. BWSC will issue a check for the lesser of the cost of the repair or $3,000, provided that the property owner meets all terms and conditions of the program.

Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating was incorporated in 2008. Starting with one service truck, Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating now operates with four trucks and seven employees. Joe Wood, owner of Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating has been a plumbing, heating and cooling professional for ten years.

As of August 9, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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