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A sanitary sewer line clogged by a tree root can cost thousands of dollars to fix, all at the homeowner's expense, unless you have special insurance.

The city of Madison announced on Friday a new sanitary sewer service warranty program will soon be available to city homeowners, costing $70 a year in the initial offering.

The program is administered by Service Line Warranties of America and covers the sanitary sewer system from the point of entry into a home, including lines under concrete slab foundations, out to where it connects to the public sanitary sewer main.

"Repairs can be expensive and are typically not covered by homeowners' insurance," said deputy city engineer Mike Dailey in a news release.

"While reliable sanitary sewer service is essential to the health of Madison's citizens and the environment, homeowners are often unprepared to deal with the anticipated cost of such a repair," Dailey said.

The $10,000 per incident coverage normally costs $7 a month or $79 a year, but SLWA is cutting the price to $6.25 a month or $70 a year in the initial campaign introducing the program to Madison homeowners.

Information about the program will be mailed to Madison residents. For more information, go to www.cityofmadison.com/engineering.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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