Call for ‘private’ sewer checks as part of Philly home inspections

Listen
 Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee is calling for all city home inspections to include a check on whether a private sewer is involved in the home sale. (NewsWorks file  photo)

Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee is calling for all city home inspections to include a check on whether a private sewer is involved in the home sale. (NewsWorks file photo)

A Philadelphia City Council Committee has approved legislation that tightens rules for home inspections.  

If the measure is approved, inspectors will have to check for something that has gotten by many in the past.

When a contractor makes an extended connection to the city sewage system, it’s called a “private” sewer, one that must be maintained by the homeowner.  

Councilman Bill Greenlee’s bill calls for all home inspections to include a check on whether a private sewer is involved in the home sale.

“This is a ‘buyer beware’ bill,” Greenlee said. “The issue of private sewers comes up, we’ve all heard about it where people are caught off guard when, all of a sudden, they are getting violations about a private sewer and they didn’t even know they had one.”

If the inspector cannot determine if a private sewer is involved, a statement to that effect must be  issued as part of the home inspection report.

Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug said there are 70 miles of private sewers in Philadelphia.

If those pipes break, the costly repairs are on the homeowner.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.