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As a homeowner receiving water or sewer services by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), you are responsible for the water and sewer systems inside your home and underground to the point of connection with the county system. This connection is made at the meter for the water line and at the sewer stub for the sewer line. Your sewer lateral, water service lines, backflow preventer, sanitary backwater device, and plumbing system all belong to you. If you have a septic systemfor wastewater treatment, that entire system is your responsibility.
Refer to the illustration below to get a better idea of what belongs to you and what parts of the system are managed by DWR. You can find out more about each topic using the dropdown selections below.
Easements and Right-of-Way
Along public roadways is a strip of land called the right-of-way. This area is reserved for use by utility companies to install their cables, meters, poles, or pipes. The width of this right-of-way can vary significantly depending on the classification of the road and the style of development in the area. The maintenance of this area is typically the responsibility of the property owner and it must be kept accessible and free of debris or obstructions. In Gwinnett County, DWR employees or contractors access the right-of-way to maintain the county water and sewer systems. The water meter and fire hydrants are usually installed in the right-of-way, which should give a visual clue as to its location.
An easement is similar to a right-of-way but may cross the property at locations other than along the roadway. Easements are located along publicly owned underground pipes, utility cables, or other infrastructure. Easements can also exist along the path of surface drainage ways.
Maintenance requirements for these easements vary, but the property owner is typically restricted from planting trees or building certain types of changes within them. Easements that cross private property are generally written and recorded with the local assessor’s office, and you should be able to find documents related to any easements on your property as part of a title search. Easements are legal commitments tied directly to the property itself and are usually binding to any future owner as well.
A private sewer lateral connects the interior plumbing of a home to the county sewer system. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the sewer lateral in the same way that you would maintain and replace your furnace or roof if they were damaged or broken. The private lateral extends to the point of connection with the county system located in the right-of-way and property owners are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the entire lateral including the connection point to the county sewer. Homeowners should be cautious when plumbers claim that work they perform on the customer’s property will be reimbursed by the County. Specific conditions must apply before reimbursement will be considered. Learn more.
Your property is connected to the county water system by a private service line. DWR is responsible for the maintenance of the county’s water system including the water main, the small diameter pipe connecting your water meter to the water main, and the water meter itself. Everything on the customer’s side of the water meter is your responsibility as the property owner to maintain, repair, or replace. This includes the responsibility to address any leaks occurring between the meter and your home, backflow prevention devices, irrigation systems, and some water pressure issues. Visit our Report a Problempage for tips on how to check the source of the most common water issues.