If your property has suffered a sewage backup, please use the following guidelines:
- If the extent of the damage is beyond your ability to clean and disinfect, we suggest that you call a restoration company. These firms can be located in the Yellow Pages under “Fire and Water Damage Restoration”. The homeowner is responsible for the cost of the restoration, which can then be included with an appropriate claim for damages.
- Notify your homeowners insurance carrier. If you receive benefits from your homeowner’s policy, the amount of those benefits will be deducted from whatever reimbursement may be paid by the Authority’s carrier, if the authority is liable.
- Make an inventory of the items that were damaged, including approximate value.
- Take photographs of the damaged area and items.
- Call the Authority Manager to notify the manager of the claim. They or an appropriate representative, will in turn notify the Authority’s insurance carrier to expedite the claim and to determine if the Authority is liable.
- Send a letter to the Authority Manager. The letter should include your name, property address, phone number, date of the loss, and the photos and list of damaged items. If your homeowner’s insurance carrier has denied the claim, please include a copy of that denial.
- You may then be contacted by an insurance adjuster.
- You will receive written notification of the decision regarding liability of the claim.
- Do not discard any damaged property unless absolutely necessary.
Please note that the Authority cannot represent that your claim will be paid by the insurance carrier. Municipal authorities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are covered by the Pennsylvania Tort Claims Act, which provides certain immunities from liability and provides specific statutory language that an Authority is liable for sewer damages only under the following specific limitation:
“A dangerous condition of the facilities of …sewer….systems owned by the local agency and located within rights-of-ways, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the local agency had actual notice or could be reasonably charged with notice under the circumstances of the dangerous condition at a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.”
Thus, in order to be liable for payment of damages, the Authority must have had reasonable notice in sufficient time prior to the event (and also) that a dangerous condition existed in a particular area, and took no action to correct the dangerous condition.
For any Pennsylvania Right to Know Inquiries, please contact our Open Records Officer, Mr. Mark Wolinsky, Authority Manager at 724-745-7220.