Water/Sewer Department

Sewer Backup Policy & Procedure


To set forth the policy of the City Council regarding the City’s position on sewer backups, and to establish a procedure for responding to backups as they are reported.


Nevada Revised Statues 41.033 states that no action may be brought against a city which is based upon failure to inspect any building, structure, vehicle, street, public highway or other public works facility or improvement to determine any hazards, deficiencies or other matters, whether or not there is a duty to inspect; or failure to discover such hazard, deficiency or other matter, whether or not an inspection is made.  This Statute clearly applies to situations in which a sewer line back ups onto private property.  Thus, it is the policy of the City to accept no liability for sewer backups and their consequences.

However, the Council recognizes the inconvenience a sewer backup may cause a property owner and voluntarily will assist property owners, without acceptance of any liability or responsibility for any direct or indirect damages or costs, with the cost of the initial and timely clean up of the property only in cases where the backup occurred in the main sewer line rather than the service line.


All reported incidents of sewer backups will be timely responded to by representatives of the Water Department as follows:

1.   A determination will be made as to the location of the blockage and/or the cause of the backup.

2.   Where the backup occurred as a result of work being done by the City on or blockage within the main sewer line, the property owner will be given instructions to make contact with a cleaning service to assist with immediate clean up.  The reasonable costs (as determined by the City of Elko) of this initial cleanup will be borne by the City, but shall be limited to the reasonable costs of the initial clean up.  Initial clean up costs include:  initial service call, water extraction, powerwashing, anti-microbial application, air movers and equipment decontamination charges.  Reasonable costs do not include removal of property, replacement of carpeting, tile or furnishings, new construction, disposal, or any other costs or damages whether direct or indirect.”

3.   Where the backup occurred as a result of work being done by the property owner on or blockage within the sewer service line, the property owner will be notified of the suspected cause of the backup and advised to call for professional assistance, if so desired. 

4.   Immediately following response to a sewer backup call, Water Department representatives will make a full report of the call and associated response to the City Manager and Utilities Director.   

Any and all claims made by property owners for reimbursement of clean up expenses not determined to be payable by the City according to this policy and claims for repair and/or replacement of personal or real property shall be reviewed, investigated and evaluated by the City subject to the provisions of NRS 41.033.

Adopted by the City Council January 22, 2008