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Mayor: mailing could mislead residents about water, sewer service
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Cereans will be receiving a mass mailing from a New Jersey company that could lead some to believe the city of Ceres has altered its policy on water and sewer service.

Mayor Chris Vierra received a heads-up from Angela Strebel of American Water Resources Insurance Services of Voorhees, N.J., stating her company will be reaching out to Ceres residents about being responsible for the water and sewer lines running through their property. The company will soon send a letter to Ceres residents informing them of their potential service line maintenance responsibilities. The company's mailing will explain that normal wear and tear can cause water line leaks and sewer line blockages, and that homeowners are responsible for making the necessary repairs. The company is offering insurance to cover the expense should repairs be necessary.

However, Vierra said the insurance is "not something we (the city) are advocating that they go out and buy for their pipelines. It doesn't happen very often. It isn't a significant deal."

The mayor said water lines rarely fail and can "last for decades." And while city residents are technically responsible for the lines that run from the water and sewer laterals to the house, the City Council agreed that the city should continue being responsible for damage done by roots of street trees to sewer lines running on private property.

Mayor Vierra said if residents want to buy insurance "that's fine but they really don't have to."

"This is going to cause a lot of confusion. I bet we will get a lot of calls."