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Lake Saint Louis Revisits Sewer Lateral Insurance

At Monday night's work session, Director of Public Works Derek Koestel laid out a plan he's developing to offer the insurance to residents.

The Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen discussed sewer lateral insurance for city residents at their work session Monday night. Director of Public Works Derek Koestel talked about a plan he was developing to offer the insurance to Lake Saint Louis residents.

The board took their first look at the insurance program in March of this year, when

Koestel said he was assuming that the city would charge $28 per year, for the purpose of planning. That amount used to be the maximum amount cities were allowed to charge for the insurance, but the amount has since been changed to $50.

Koestel said that many cities have dropped that amount, and some are able to charge as little as $4 once the fund has been built up. "I'm guessing that we’ll find that $28 is more than we’ll need," Koestel said.

Neighboring cities differ on how much of the cost of sewer repair they pay. For instance, O’Fallon pays 100 percent of the cost of repairs, up to a maximum of $7500.

In contrast, St. Charles pays 80 percent of the repairs, with a 20 percent contribution from the resident.

Alderman Karen Vennard asked how much the average cost of sewer lateral repairs ran. Koestel said the average is $3,000-4,000, depending on whether repairs went underneath the street. Repairs could be as low as $2500 and run as high as $6000. Koestel said his figures were based on the eight or 10 applications the city has received for similar work over the last 10 years.

Alderman Ralph Sidebottom asked if problems from root intrusion would be covered. Koestel said that if a plumber can't get the pipe draining, city contractors could put a camera in the line and determine if the pipes are broken, or if a root saw or chemicals would solve the problem.

Karen Vennard said, "We’re going to have to educate people on 'what’s your problem, what’s our problem.'"

Koestel said that it was important for residents to be able to show that they have experienced repeated problems and that there has been some effort on their part to address it. He said that he had enough information for a public hearing.

"I need to develop the application form and finalize the procedures," Koestel said.

City Administrator Paul Markworth suggested the city hold a public hearing on the issue of sewer lateral insurance in October, with the possibility of it going to the voters in April 2012.

Sidebottom asked if Koestel was planning to add water line insurance to the program.

Koestel said that he believed that that state law allowing the insurance for St. Charles County was not yet in effect.

"We can use this as a model, and bring the water lines in later," he said.

Larry Kruse August 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM
How is PWSD#2 involved? They are the water and sewer district .. are the homeowner protected by fees paid to them? Also, how would this insurance premium be charged to the homeowners .. tax bill? Thanks.
Tamara Duncan August 23, 2011 at 08:23 PM
Larry, here's the scoop from Eric Sterman, Assistant City Administrator: "The sewer lateral is the portion that runs from the sewer main to the home. This piece is not owned and/or covered by the sewer district and therefore is the responsibility of the homeowner. This program would involve repairs to that portion of the sewer only. Any issues with the sewer main would be the responsibility of the district. As for the billing, the fee would be charged on a resident’s property tax bill. Let me know if you get any other questions on this."

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