Sewer Odor Poses Problem for Ontario Homeowner

by | Apr 21, 2023 | Cares, Infrastructure, Ontario, Service Line Responsibilities, Water

The day Pamela moved into new home in Hamilton, Ontario, she noticed an odd smell – a faint odor of sewage – but she couldn’t pin down where it was coming from.

“I noticed it the day I moved into the house,” she said.

Later, her sewer backed up.

“The flooding in the basement started about two weeks before applying to the (Service Line Warranties of Canada Cares) Foundation,” she said. “It was getting worse every day, and I thought the day where it would stop draining completely was getting pretty close.”

Pamela lived by herself and had a fixed income, and a plumbing repair for hundreds or possibly even thousands of dollars was out of reach. Yet, at the same time, the gases and grey water was making her situation at home unbearable.

“I did not have working drains, toilets or a working washing machine, as any water that was put in the system would back up into the basement,” she said. “It was so bad; I was flushing the toilet once per day. Also, every time it rained, the drain backed up too, and I would have raw sewage all over the floor.”

Two things were clear: There was a major problem with Pamela’s plumbing, and she needed help at once. Pamela found that help in by scrolling the city website, finding information about the Service Line Warranties of Canada Cares Foundation, which provides free plumbing repairs that impact quality of life, safety and sanitation for qualifying homeowners.

“The SLWC Cares program complements the City administered Homeowner Ontario Renovates, a provincially funded program that provides financial assistance to low-income households who own and occupy substandard housing to enable them to repair their dwellings to a minimum level of health and safety,” John Savoia, Senior Policy Advisor, City of Hamilton, said. “As the demand exceeds available Homeowner Ontario Renovates funding, the SLWC Cares program may bridge funding challenges for those applicants with plumbing emergency repairs that need immediate attention.”

The program is made available to city homeowners through the relationship between the City of Hamilton and Service Line Warranties of Canada. The SLWC program educates homeowners about their responsibility to maintain the utility service lines on their property and supplies an optional emergency home repair plan that shields residents from the financial shock of an unexpected repair.

“Many homeowners do not know they are responsible for repairs and replacement of the water and sewer lines that fail on their property. When something goes wrong, they often turn to the city or their insurance company and are then surprised, and frankly upset, to learn that they are responsible for fixing the problem,” said Savoia. “Participating in the SLWC program has given Hamilton homeowners a way to prepare for and handle these types of repairs without being left with a repair bill they can’t afford.”

Pamela applied to the program made available through the City’s foresight, and SLWC network contractor Pro Flow Drain Specialists was sent out to find the source of the backup. The Pro Flow team shortly found that roots had invaded her sewer line and improperly installed plumbing added to her woes, allowing gases to escape back into the home.