The State of Michigan passed a law, Act 222 of Public Acts of 2001, which clarifies the conditions under which municipalities are liable for sewer backups. The Act sets standards to determine the extent to which a municipality is liable for backups and establishes a process that affected persons must follow to seek compensation when a backup occurs. Anyone making a claim for property damage or physical injury must prove that the public sewer had a defect. Further, the person must prove that the governmental agency knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known about the defect. Also, it must be proven that the governmental agency having the legal authority did not take the reasonable steps in a reasonable amount of time to repair, correct or remedy the defect. Finally, the defect must be 50% or more of the cause of the event and the property damage or physical injury.
If you experience an overflow or backup of a sewage disposal system or storm water system, and intend to make a claim, you can file a written claim with the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities within 45 days after the overflow or backup is discovered. If you are interested in receiving additional information or have any questions concerning this law, please feel free to contact our Water / Sewer Department at 517-279-4805. Upon discovery of an overflow or sanitary backup, immediately contact the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities at 517-279-9531.