Have you ever had to replace a water or sewer line?
Did you know that the water and sewer lines going from the exterior of your home to the public utility connection, owned by the City of Gainesville, are not typically covered by home insurance or even a home owner warranty? You are responsible for those lines.
The national average cost to fix a broken, clogged, or leaky water or sewer line is $2,600 or more. IF the break happens under your home or the street the cost can rise well over $10,000. These are national averages. When I lived in Midland, Texas the estimate I received for this repair was $8,000.
Usually the first sign you have something wrong is when you notice large wet areas in your yard. This is the first sign you need to get a plumber. However, we have a plumber shortage in Gainesville—the demand outstrips the supply.
IF you get a plumber they will need to evaluate the situation. This will involve an inspection of the line and you will get a quote. A good rule here is to get three quotes. However, your adventure is only beginning. Now you need to get a permit from the city, you will have extensive digging in your yard, and the costs will depend on what is found, the depth and length of the pipe, etc.
The median income in Gainesville is just over $45,000 per year and our poverty rate is 25%. statistically, this puts more than 3,000 residents at a high risk of not being able to afford a major repair like a water or sewer line. If someone who cannot afford a $2,600 to more than $10,000 repair is faced with this expense they will most likely defer the maintenance making the problem worse down the road and even causing them to go without safe water.
What is the solution?
The city must look at enlisting the services of a third party water and sewer line protection program.
These programs are operated all across the United States. For a low monthly or annual premium they will warranty your water and sewer lines.
In this program residents would voluntarily sign-up for the warranty program, which would be offered through the city, but nobody would be forced to sign-up for the program. The third-party would provide management of the program and secure contractors for the repairs. When a resident suffers a water or sewer line problem the third-party will send out a contracted company to make repairs or replace the line.
As part of City Council I would make sure costs were reasonable for residents of Gainesville and that we used local contractors or those located in Cooke County for the work.
A water and sewer line protection program in Gainesville would not only save residents thousands of dollars, but would work along side the cities master plan as we invest in maintenance of our streets. Such a program would also make my plan to grid the city and institute a maintinence program more feasible.
IF the City of Gainesville offered a water line protection program would you sign up? What is your biggest concern about city utilities?