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Sewers and drains .... who is responsible when backups happen?
If you own a property in the City of Winnipeg you are responsible for maintenance and repairs of your drain & sewer lines from your building or private residence to where it joins the main city sewer line.
Your Sewer lines should be kept in good repair, well maintained and regularly cleaned by a sewer cleaning contractor. This is even more important in older structures where tree roots can gain entry into your sewer lines causing blockages within the pipe.
What about city owned trees blocking my sewer line?
Unfortunately, the property owner is responsible for sewer lines from your building to sewer main hookup. This can include portions if the sewer line under city sidewalks & roads! You cannot cut down a city/public owned tree that is blocking your sewer....there are rules to follow.
In situations where the property owner requests in writing the removal of city owned trees for the reason of sewer line blockage, a representative of the Forestry Branch will inspect the tree(s) and make a decision. City owned trees are rarely removed for the reason of sewer line blockage. The City of Winipeg only removes trees when they are dead, diseased, dying, involved in approved permitted construction or are visibility or safety Hazard.
This illustration is directly from winnipeg.ca and highlights what a property owner's responsibility is in the maintenance of their sewer line connected to the city main.