The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

July 14, 2014

Avoiding a flood of debt

OTTUMWA — A busted water line is inconvenient. What it's not, said a local official, is inexpensive.

"We've seen homeowner repairs that run [to] $4,000," said Mike Heffernan, director of the Ottumwa Water Works. "We normally just handle the main; homeowners are responsible for the portion from the main to the house."

Heffernan and his staff have felt the pain of homeowners suddenly facing a huge bill to keep the water flowing. And they've discussed the situation.

They feel that HomeServe, a type of insurance company, can provide home emergency repair service plans for busted water lines. The cost is about $5 a month, and there's no deductible.

"Information about the plans will be mailed to customers," said Heffersnan.

Coverage plans offer homeowners protection against water and/or sewer service breaks.

"It's a matter of what risk they want to take on," he said. "The sewer is a separate insurance. Water Service line, Sewer Service, Interior Plumbing. They're all different plans. You're paying for protection. But it is optional."

The plans are only available for residences, not businesses.

“We have found that many of our customers become frustrated when they discover a leaking water service line, or have a blocked sewer lateral on their property and then discover that this piping is their responsibility,” said Heffernan. “Ottumwa Water and Hydro recognized that one way we could assist our customers is to offer them an optional program that would protect them against the cost and hassle of repairs in these instances. ”

Ottumwa joins another utility provider in Iowa, Des Moines Water Works, to offer HomeServe’s optional repair service plans to homeowners.

For more information, visit

— Follow Tweets by reporter Mark Newman @couriermark

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