Lawmaker Wants Utilities To Pay For Flood Damage From Broken Water Mains

Assemblywoman Linda Stender

Assemblywoman Linda Stender

TRENTON—Assemblywoman Linda Stender has introduced legislation requiring water utilities to cover costs related to flood damage under certain circumstances.

This past July, a 48-inch water main broke in Scotch Plains. Many residents adjacent to the broken water main were victims of flooding which resulted in thousands of dollars in damages to their homes. The water company claimed they were not responsible to repair the costs of the damage. Some of the resident’s homeowner policies denied the claims as well, leaving homeowners responsible for the costs of repairs.

“I find it outrageous that a homeowner would be responsible to pay to repair the damage caused by a water main break.” said Stender (D-Union.) “They did not cause the break, they pay their bill, the cost of repairing should be bore by the water companies.”

Who should be responsible for flooding damage caused by water main leaks?

the water company
residents' homeowners insurance
I'm not sure

A-3443 would require compensation to the claimant for the cost of restoring real and personal property, and any income, loan interests or tax revenue lost from the time the property is damaged to the time the property is repaired.

“I am hoping to alleviate future conflicts due to accidental incidents,” added Stender. “While many of our pipelines are well-maintained, our infrastructure is getting older. Residents should not have to face the shock of being responsible for a flood caused by an outside source.”

Flooding would have to be a result of failure by a water utility’s facilities or water delivery system, including a water main break, leak, or other similar occurrence not caused by a major catastrophic event or located in a flood zone.

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