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Water, Sewer Company Targets Homeowners

January 9, 2013, 10:10 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Water, Sewer Company Targets Homeowners

Sioux Falls city officials want to clarify marketing materials sent to homeowners regarding their water and sewer connections.

Marketing efforts by a private company, American Water Resources, have prompted some calls to the city utilities office. The company is attempting to sell service packages for the lines running from residents’ homes to the city’s main lines. Maintenance of those lines is considered homeowners’ responsibility.

“Certainly people who've had issues with that would know and maybe that's when people find out, but generally it's an accepted practice across the industry,” Sioux Falls utility operations administrator Trent Lubbers said. “Customers need to do their due diligence and make sure this policy if it is something that they want to consider, that it's not covered elsewhere or if it's something they're interested in they should look further into it."

According to the American Water Resources website, the company is highly rated by the Better Business Bureau and offers water and sewer line protection plans in 35 states. The website even has a link to the Sioux Falls ordinance which says the line maintenance responsibility lies with the homeowner.

“We certainly don't endorse it. We're not affiliated with the company,” Lubbers said.

But before you purchase the plan you might want to consult your own insurance company about coverage you are already paying for.

“There is a little confusion between flood policies and sewer and drain endorsement. So, it has to come through the sump pump or it has to come through the sewer system,” Sioux Falls State Farm agent Aaron Smith said.

Smith says about half of his homeowner clients already have that type of coverage. And his office sends its own reminders out twice each year about the policy.

“Do you have any moisture in your sump pump over the last two and three years? Did you have any water in your basement, did you have issues? If you didn't have it your chance is you do not need it,” Smith said.

Lubbers said homeowner responsibility for water and sewer lines is not a new policy or ordinance change.

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