This program provides insurance coverage to assist homeowners with the cost of repairs to residential sewer lateral service lines.
Steps In Sewer Lateral Insurance Program
1. Identification of a defective private sewer lateral:
Blockage (unresolvable by cabling)
Cave-In (investigated by the City and Metropolitan Sewer District, MSD)
Leakage (raw sewage on ground)
2. Application to City by homeowner including $400 deposit to cover cabling and inspection costs.
3. City contractor performs video inspection and locates defective section. The homeowner is refunded the deposit less cabling and inspection costs.
4. If a defect covered by the insurance program is found, and upon City authorization, homeowner obtains three bids from City-approved contractors.
5. Homeowner has work performed by contractor submitting lowest bid.
6. Homeowner applies to City for 75% payment of eligible costs.
7. City pays contractor for 75% of the work. The homeowner is responsible to the contractor for the remaining 25% of the costs.
Who is responsible for repair costs associated with a sewer lateral repair?
The homeowner is responsible for repairing problems with their sewer lateral. Average costs of these repairs are typically $3,000 or more. MSD does not pay for sewer lateral repairs. The City Sewer Lateral Insurance program is designed to assist the homeowner in covering this expense.
How does Kirkwood’s Sewer Lateral Insurance Program work?
Kirkwood’s program applies to residential property containing six (6) or fewer dwelling units. All residential condominiums are also included under the Sewer Lateral Program. The cost of the program is funded through an annual fee of $28, which will be placed on the property owner’s County property tax bill. Applicants for this insurance program must not be outstanding on any monies owed to the City of Kirkwood or must be regularly participating in a deferred payment plan authorized by the Director of Finance.
The portion of the private sewer lateral covered by the insurance program is the pipe which carries household wastes to the MSD sewer main and which lies between the structure foundation wall, or exterior wall, to the main in the street or sewer easement. It does not include a sewer line located under any part of the building, nor include pumps or lift equipment. Properties that do not connect to MSD sewer mains or have individual disposal systems such as septic fields are not subject to the annual fee and are excluded from the insurance program.
What steps do I take if there is a cave-in in the street or yard area that may be caused by a sewer collapse?
In the event a cave-in appears in a yard or in the street that you believe is caused by a defective sewer lateral, notify the City of Kirkwood Public Works Department at 822-5822. The City and Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) will investigate the cave-in and the homeowner will be notified in the event it is caused by a breach or defect in the private sewer lateral. If the cave-in is caused by a private sewer lateral, the homeowner is responsible for its replacement. The homeowner may be eligible for 75% reimbursement under the City’s sewer lateral insurance program and may file an application with the City.
What steps do I take if my sewer lateral becomes blocked?
If you experience a blockage of your lateral sewer service line, the first thing to do is have your sewer lateral cabled. Cabling a blocked sewer lateral is a home maintenance expense, thus the cost of cabling is not reimbursable under this insurance program. If the blockage is not resolved by cabling of the line, you should file an application with the City.
How do I apply for the insurance program?
Applications are available in the City of Kirkwood Public Works Department, located on the lower level of Kirkwood City Hall, 139 South Kirkwood Road. A $400 deposit is required for the city to conduct a video inspection and cable the line if necessary. The City will authorize you to make arrangements with a City contractor to video inspect the line.
The cost of the inspection, cabling, cleaning, and/or unclogging will be deducted from the deposit and the remaining deposit refunded to you. If the inspection shows that the sewer lateral service line requires repair or replacement, the City will authorize you to arrange for three written bids for such repair or replacement from the City's list of authorized contractors.
After obtaining the three written bids, you may engage the contractor submitting the lowest bid. The contractor must obtain any necessary permits from the City and St. Louis County, and perform the work in compliance with applicable codes. The contractor must submit an itemized bill to you upon completion of the work. If the contractor requests a change in price from a bid after the work has begun, such changes must be approved by the Department of Public Works.
What work is covered by the insurance?
The corrective work which is subject to reimbursement from the insurance fund is limited to excavation, repair or replacement of only the broken portion of the sewer line, backfilling, repairing sidewalk, driveways, and street pavement, and seeding and strawing of the disturbed portion of the yard. Additional work is not included in the program and shall be done at your expense.
It is the responsibility of the contractor (and 75% covered by the insurance policy) to replace or repair sidewalks, driveways, and streets damaged or removed in order to accomplish the repair. In the event that accessory structures such as fences, sheds, garages, etc. are in the path of the lateral and lie over the damaged portion of the lateral, the City reserves the right to reroute the lateral, or to require any fences, landscaping or accessory structures to be moved at your expense.
The City insurance program does not cover repair, relocation, or damage to underground sprinkler systems, underground dog fences, trees, fences, landscaping, or any damage caused by the performance of the contractor. Any services that you contract for which deal with work inside the walls of the home or which are outside of the coverage of this insurance program are not the responsibility of the City and will not be subject to reimbursement by this insurance fund.
How do I get the 75% Insurance Fund payment?
After the work is completed by the low-bid contractor to your satisfaction, you must submit the following items for the 75% payment to your contractor:
1. City form showing authorization to participate in the insurance program.
2. Three written estimates from authorized plumbers.
3. Itemized bill from low bidder to perform the work.
4. Lien waivers from the contractor.
5. A statement that the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
Upon receipt and approval, the City will forward your contractor a check for 75% of the eligible costs of the invoice. You are responsible for any additional costs to the contractor. Additional Information The City has no obligation or responsibility for the performance of the contractor and no responsibility for any damages caused to the owner’s property because of sewer line defects. When the City determines an emergency or special circumstances exist, the bidding requirements may be waived by the City. In these special situations, the homeowner will be authorized to contact a specific contractor of the City’s choice or the City may authorize the use of a contractor who is not the low bidder. If the City is notified of, or otherwise becomes aware of, the probability of a leaking sanitary sewer lateral, then the City will take appropriate steps to identify the cause. This may include a dye test, video inspection, or any other steps deemed necessary. The homeowner is responsible for repair or replacement of a leaking or defective sewer lateral. You may be eligible for 75% reimbursement under the Sewer Lateral Insurance program.
If you have questions about the proposed sewer lateral insurance program, please contact the program administrator at City Hall by dialing 314-822-5819, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.