PLUGGED SEWERS: If you feel your sewer is plugged for any reason, please contact FTMSA (724-327-1950) prior to calling a plumber, so we can determine if the problem is the homeowners responsibility or if it is FTMSA's responsibility.
Also, please check with your homeowners insurance to see if you are covered in the case of a sewage backup. If not, you may want to add this coverage. In most cases of sewage backups, the Authority is not liable.
Property Damage from Sewer Backups
If you have ever experienced property damage caused by a sewer backup, chances are you found that damage was not covered by your insurance.
All local governments in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania are afforded sovereign immunity against third party claims for property loss damage under the Political Subdivision Torts Claim Act. Some exceptions do apply, but generally conditions are very specific for exceptions to be validated.
The Tort Claims Act states that "a local agency cannot be held liable for a dangerous condition of water or sewer system unless it had actual notice or could reasonably be charged with notice under the circumstances at sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measure to protect against the dangerous condition."
Most sewer system backups are unforeseen events, and generally don't fall under the exception. Therefore, damages to your property are not covered by the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority (FTMSA). FTMSA encourages you to review your current insurance policy with your insurance agent.
What to do if your sewer backs up and contaminates your home?
Once a back-up is indicated, contact the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority. While you are waiting for one of our crews to come out and assess the situation, please also contact your neighbors to see if they are experiencing any problems.
If there is a problem with the main sewer line, FTMSA is responsible to fix it. However, if there is a problem with the sewer lateral, the homeowner is responsible to fix it.
Once the problem is corrected and the sewage has dissipated in your home, you may begin the clean-up process.
Some Steps to Clean Up the Contaminated Area
Clean and disinfect washable surfaces that have come in contact with sewage.
Wash with soap and water, then disinfect with a mixture of a quarter cup of household bleach per gallon of water.
Discard upholstered furniture, mattresses, bedding and stuffed toys soaked in flood waters.
Sweep or vacuum soaked and soiled carpeting, then shampoo it with a commercial rug cleaner.
Clean, dry and check your furnace, water heater, washer, dryer and other appliances before using them. (Don't handle electrical equipment in wet areas. Call a plumber or an electrician for professional service)
To remove odors from refrigerators and freezers, use warm water with a detergent and wipe dry. (If odor persists, try a solution of one teaspoon of baking soda or one cup of household ammonia per gallon of water)
Throw away all foods that have come in contact with flood waters.
Make sure everyone involved in the flood cleanup has an up-to-date tetanus shot. (Boosters are recommended every ten years)