The City of New Madrid will investigate all sewer backups immediately upon notice to attempt to determine the cause of the overflow and identify any corrective action.
Sewer backups have a variety of causes, some of which the city may be responsible for. The city will investigate each backup to attempt to determine the cause; however, the sewer backup may not be the city's responsibility. This determination will help the city's insurer establish if the homeowner will be offered compensation for damages and cleanup costs.
In the event of a sewer backup, the homeowner has a duty to protect their property, regardless of the cause of the backup or who pays for it. The homeowner must take reasonable steps to minimize damage, and the following are some suggested/recommended steps to follow:
- Notify the city of the backup immediately (the city will notify it's insurer). You may also wish to contact your homeowner's insurance agent for guidance on submitting a claim to your insurer.
- Take photographs of the backup, both prior to and after the water and sewage are removed.
- All water and sewage should be immediately removed from the basement.
- Remove all wet rugs, clothes, boxes, and other items from the basement area.
- Take pictures of any affected carpet, remove and store outside.
- If the water was high enough to involve a motor on a furnace, or electrical appliance, we recommend contacting a reputable repair service to remove the motor and have it dried. In most cases a motor can be dried without incurring any damage to the motor.
- All concrete floors or tile floors should be washed down with fresh water, and then washed with a strong germ killing and odor killing solution.
- We recommend for items that have finely machined parts, such as sewing machines and typewriters, to be taken immediately to a repair facility so that they may be cleaned and oiled.
- All items contained inside a wet box should be removed and dried, and the boxes thrown out.
- All wood furniture and wood items should be thoroughly dried and wiped with an oil base wood polish.
- All wet paper items should be removed from the basement and stored outside or disposed of depending on the value.
- The basement area should then be properly dried through ventilation, use of floor fans, and a dehumidifier if available. Floor fans and dehumidifiers can be rented from a local rental shop.
Be sure to promptly contact your insurance carrier or the city's insurer concerning inspecting your property, and for further instructions. Do not throw anything out, except for inexpensive paper products, until an adjuster has had a chance to inspect the loss.
The above suggestions are meant to assist in the event of a sewer backup, and are not an admission of liability or a commitment to reimburse the homeowner for costs incurred. The homeowner has a duty to protect their property, and a refusal to do so may result in further damage to the property. If additional damage occurs as a result of a delay, that portion of the loss will not be considered. By law the homeowner has the duty to minimize the damage regardless of the fault or who is paying for the loss.
Under no circumstance will the city employees attempt to clean the residential service line.