It’s not often a businessman has good things to say about new government regulations. But for Chris Carlin, owner of C. Carlin Plumbing in Erie, Pennsylvania, new ordinances that made Erie-area homeowners responsible for repairing their own sewer laterals thrust his company into a completely different — and more profitable — direction.
The ordinances went into effect during the mid-to-late 1990s as municipalities realized they couldn’t afford to fix all the inflow and infiltration issues plaguing thousands of aging lateral lines in the region. “They figured out there were a lot more miles of laterals than there were miles of sewer mainlines,” says Carlin, 54. “So they made homeowners responsible for laterals from the house to the main.
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