Questions and Answers Regarding Sewer Backups
Is there more than one type of sewer system in Delta Township?
Yes. There are two different sewer systems in Delta Township – (1) sanitary sewer system and (2) storm sewer or drain system.
- SANITARY SEWERS are used to carry the wastewater or sewage from your home or business to the wastewater treatment plant.
- STORM SEWERS or storm drains carry rainwater from the yards and streets directly to the river.
Does Delta Township own both sanitary and storm sewer systems?
NO. Delta Township only owns the sanitary sewer system. The storm sewer system is owned almost entirely by the County Drain Commissioner or County Road Commission.
Is there a state law regarding the liability of municipal governments for sewer backups?
Yes. Act 222 of the Public Acts of 2001 effective January 2, 2002, addresses the requirements whereby a governmental agency may be held liable for the overflow or backup resulting from a sewage disposal system event.
What is a sewage disposal system event?
A sewage disposal system event, also called an “Event,” is the overflow or backup of a government-owned sewage disposal system onto real property.
Could a backup of sewage not be considered a sewage disposal system event?
Yes. It would not be considered a sewage disposal system event if 50 percent or more of the cause of the problem is in the homeowner’s system. An “Event” has not occurred if any of the following were 50 percent or more of the cause of the overflow or backup:
- An obstruction in the homeowner’s service lead that was not caused by a governmental agency.
- A connection to the homeowner’s system on the affected property including but not limited to a sump pump system, building drain, surface drain, gutter, or downspouts.
- Act of War or Act of Terrorism.
What is the service lead?
The service lead connects your building to the main sanitary sewer and is not owned or maintained by Delta Township. It could run into easements or the street and is still owned and maintained by the property owner, not Delta.
Do I have to prove the problem is not in my service lead?
Yes. If the problem is in your system, an Event did not occur, so there is no claim against Delta Township.
Could a sewage disposal system event be caused by storm water?
Yes. Act 222 covers sanitary and storm sewers.
Can I file a claim against Delta Township for a storm water event?
No. You must file a claim with the “appropriate governmental agency” that owns or operates the system at the time of the Event. Delta Township does not own the storm sewer system.
If a sewage disposal system event occurred, can I file a claim for property damages or physical injury?
Yes. You may seek compensation for property damages or physical injury by showing that ALL the following existed at the time of the event:
- Delta Township was the appropriate governmental agency.
- The sewage disposal system owned by Delta had a defect.
- That Delta knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, about the defect.
- That Delta failed to remedy the defect in a reasonable time.
- The defect was 50 percent or more of the cause of the event that resulted in property damage or physical injury.
- Proof of ownership and value of the damaged personal property.
- Compliance with the notice requirements.
What is physical injury?
Physical injury is defined as one of the following:
2. Serious impairment of a body function
3. Permanent serious disfigurement
What is meant by "Compliance with the Notice Requirements"?
You must notify Delta Township in writing of a claim within 45 days of when you discovered the damages or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have been discovered.
Who do I notify at Delta Township that I want to file a Claim of Damages?
Notify the Township’s Accounting Office at 517.323.8510. They will take your name, address, etc. and mail you a claim form to fill out and return.
If I file a claim for damages after an event (sewer backup), will someone contact me to investigate?
Yes. An investigator will look at the scene and gather information about the backup and damages. The investigator is not a Delta Township employee. The investigator will work for the insurance carrier.
Can I refuse to allow the investigator to enter my home?
No. The owner or occupant of an affected property shall not unreasonably refuse to allow a governmental agency subject to a claim to inspect damaged property.
Do you have an idea, question or comment for the Township? Let us know!
Lansing MI 48917
Fax: (517) 323-8599
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.