Who is Service Line Warranties of America?

SLWA_logo_taglinePhilip E. Riley, Jr., CEO of Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), which was founded in 2003, was concerned that while government was addressing aging public infrastructure issues, there was no solution available to homeowners, whose private water and sewer lines are subjected to the same wear and tear as public service lines. SLWA initially focused on addressing the issues presented by the aging public infrastructure with local utilities. By 2009, he recognized the need for educating homeowners about their service line responsibilities at the municipal level, and began partnering with municipalities across the U.S.

With the support and endorsement of the National League of Cities (NLC), the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), the Indian National Council of Governments (INCOG) and the Local Authority Service (LAS), created by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) in Ontario, Canada, the program is now available in more than 250 cities and municipalities across North America.

The National League of Cities Service Line Warranty Program, administered by Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) has a deep understanding of working with city officials to provide a service line warranty program that adds value and meets service expectations for the city and its residents.

SLWA and its affiliates are committed to acting with the highest level of integrity and ethics in daily interactions with clients, customers, employees, contractors and stakeholders. Business transparency and dedication to providing an exceptional customer experience has resulted in a customer satisfaction rating that has exceeded 95% for more than 10 years. SLWA’s values are deeply engrained in its employees’ work ethic and is demonstrated through their respect of others and honesty when handling daily business interactions. Humility and respect are articulated through the encouragement of listening carefully and working effectively to create a winning scenario from which all parties benefit. This approach has yielded consistently outstanding results and is why SLWA was selected as the 2013 Winner of the Western Pennsylvania Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics and the 2015 winner of the West Virginia Municipal League Conservation Award.

SLWA partnered with the NLC to bring the NLC Service Line Warranty Program to cities, towns and municipalities across the United States. Endorsement from the NLC, a highly respected ambassador for municipalities, helped establish credibility and trust in the program since its affiliation upholds the long-standing, well-respected NLC image. As a partner representing the NLC brand, SLWA is committed to both the BBB accreditation standards and those of the National League of Cities. With integrity and ethics weighing heavily in the company’s mission, vision and values, SLWA demonstrates the core fundamentals of what the BBB and the Torch Award represent.

“Considering the large customer base that Service Line Warranties of America has worked with over these past 10 years and their exemplary record at the Bureau, I’m proud to have you as an accredited business of the BBB,” said Mr. Warren King, President of the Western Pennsylvania Better Business Bureau. “There were three key things that stood out in their business philosophy – full disclosure and communication with customers, partners, vendors and staff, which are all part of the company’s daily ethical standards and values; honoring promises by providing service in the fairest and most honest way possible; and acting with integrity, which involves mutual respect, problem solving without overreaction and fair and equitable ways of ensuring complete client satisfaction.”

While all businesses are rated through the Better Business Bureau, the grade rating is merely a matrix of claims and unresolved issues. The accreditation is where the value to the consumer lies and the business practices of the company are evaluated. SLWA and its affiliates are diligent about maintaining their Better Business Bureau accreditation, which requires that the business not only work to resolve customer complaints, but also adhere to ethical and customer-oriented business practices. By partnering with a long-standing Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, the city can be confident that customers take first priority and that repairs are made to the customers’ satisfaction and in accordance with local code.

“Service Line Warranties of America assimilates integrity, ethics, trust and honesty as central values for its organization,” said Dr. James Weber, Torch Award Judge and current Professor of Business Ethics and Management, Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics at Duquesne University. “This firm’s ethical employee training includes six pillars of character and emphasizes a positive approach toward the benefits of being ethical. The firm also created a Community and Employee Engagement Committee to better enable the firm to act responsibly toward the community.”

What are those balls in the Los Angeles Reservoir?

You may have seen the news reports floating around online about a new effort to protect the quickly depleting water resources in Los Angeles. The city has invested over $34 million in “shade balls” to protect this vital resource. They hope their investment will pay off.

Last week, 96 million shade balls were dumped down the slope of the reservoir and into the water, creating what some online users have dubbed “the world’s largest ball pit.” The city posted a video highlighting their accomplishment on social media, which was quickly shared around the globe.

“The shade balls are BPA-free and, in addition to saving water from evaporating, also reduce algae blooms so our water is cleaner,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti on his Facebook page. “When we wanted to update the reservoir, the original estimate was over $300 million, but with these shade balls we ended up spending only $0.36 for each ball, coming in at just $34.5 million to get the same result. They will also prevent the annual loss to evaporation by about 300 million gallons of water for the 3.3 billion-gallon, 175-acre LA Reservoir.”

According to a news release, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the first utility company to use this technology for water quality protection. The balls will protect the water from sunlight, deter birds and other wildlife and also protect water from rain and wind-blown dust.

“In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation,” said Mayor Garcetti in the release. “This effort by LADWP is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges. Together, we’ve led the charge to cut our city’s water usage by 13%, and today we complete an infrastructure investment that saves our ratepayers millions and protects a vital source of drinking water for years to come.”

To date, California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record and while El Niño looks to bring a bit of relief to parts of the state, climatologists say it will not reverse the drought conditions. Although other parts of the country have experienced long periods of drought this year, all communities need to take note of the importance of water conservation. As a resident, you play a pivotal role in conservation efforts by reporting and repairing leaks and breaks in your water lines, which is critical to maintaining adequate water supplies. Don’t let your resources waste away – protect your water today!

Why Would Homeowners Need a Service Line Warranty?

Plumbing supplies

Most homeowners don’t think about the condition of the external buried water and sewer lines that run from the public utility connection to the exterior of their homes – out of sight, out of mind. In fact, people don’t think about their service lines until confronted with a backed up sewer or leaking water line when challenged to find a reputable plumber and pay for the repair that can cost thousands of dollars. Protecting home and property, usually the single largest investment an individual will make in their lifetime according to Freddie Mac, is a top priority for many homeowners.

  1. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently gave a D (D = Poor) rating to America’s water and wastewater public infrastructure. Additionally, about 30% of Canadian municipal infrastructure is assessed between fair and poor. Homeowners’ water and sewer lines are subjected to the same conditions as the lines that make up the public infrastructure – age, root invasion, ground shifting, fluctuating temperatures and more. While government is addressing the public infrastructure, homeowners are responsible for the cost of repairs to the service lines located on their property. These repairs can cost from hundreds of dollars to upwards of $3,500 per repair, which can be hard on a family’s budget. With a warranty, the homeowner is covered for the repair costs due to normal wear and tear, with no service fees or deductibles.
  1. Several studies indicate that many people are not prepared for these kind of unexpected expenses, even though most have a budget. A recent study by the Federal Reserve suggested that more than 50% of individuals surveyed could not afford a hypothetical emergency expense of $400 without selling belongings or borrowing money. Homeowners work hard for their money and it’s no secret that the expense of owning a home adds up over time. Bankrate’s study revealed that while more than 80% of American’s have a prepared household budget, more than 3 in 5 would have to look elsewhere, such as borrowing from family or using a credit card, in order to cover a small emergency expense, not having enough savings to cover the cost. With depleted savings and many of those eligible for retirement unprepared, expensive repairs are just not in the budget.When evaluating monthly expenses, such as a water or sewer line warranty program, homeowners are encouraged to consider what they have in savings and what they can honestly spend each month for protection. For homeowners with limited resources, a few dollars a month to provide peace of mind could outweigh the risk of “if” a failure would ever occur, considering only 38% said they had sufficient savings to cover an emergency expense.
  1. It can be difficult to find a contractor you can trust to do the job right the first time.
    com suggests, “You can’t cut corners here – there are plenty of badhandymen out there willing to do shoddy work and charge you a ton of money, and they give the good ones who are eager for your business a bad name.” With a service line warranty, the vettinghas been done, so you know that the contractor sent to make the repair has proper licenses and insurance andis located within the area.The Western Pennsylvania chapter of the BBB comments on the challenge of locating the right contractor. “Hiring a home improvement contractor toperform work or repairs can certainly be an overwhelming process during anunexpected emergency. It’s also the type of situation that likely has an impact on people’s budgets, which is why it’s important for consumersto be educated on their rights and responsibilities when choosing a contractor.”Our program only uses contractors that have successfully passed a rigorous background check, maintain proper licensing and insurance, and as the program’s representative, are committed to providing exceptional customer service.
  1. Homeowners with a service line warranty are more likely to report a problem and have it fixed quickly, which helps with water conservation efforts and prevents ground pollution. We know the impacts that water main breaks have on water waste: a campaign launched by the National Association of Water Companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that there are 650 water main breaks per day in the U.S., resulting in a daily loss of 7 billion gallons of water. The same failing pipes wreaking havoc with municipal water systems are carrying water to your resident’s homes, and are subject to the same breaks and leaks.


Flood Safety Tips

Many areas of the world are seeing record-breaking amounts of rainfall this summer. With these high concentrations of water come dangers of flooding. Be prepared for flooding with these tips from the The National Weather Service and Get Prepared.

Before a Flood

  • Know flood-prone areas and avoid them when high concentrations of rain are possible.
  • Know the best websites, radio stations and television stations to get local information if a flood is likely. Sign up for alerts on your smart phone to receive notifications of severe weather.
  • Understand the difference between a flood watch (flooding is possible) and warning (flooding is occurring or will occur soon).
  • Know what you will need in the event of an emergency and pack a bag of clothing, essentials and medication in case you need to evacuate.
  • Have an emergency supply of food and water in your home in the event of an extended power outage, unsafe drinking water or impassable roadways that could strand you in your home for a day or two.

During a Flood

  • Listen to news reports on whether the community’s water is safe to drink. During heavy flooding, water sources can become contaminated. Always have an emergency supply of water on hand.
  • If you are encouraged to evacuate to higher ground, do so immediately. Do not “wait it out.”
  • Turn off utilities at the main switch and disconnect appliances in areas of your home that could flood, like basements or the first floor.
  • Do not attempt to walk or drive through moving water if at all possible. It only takes a few inches of water to make you fall or to move a car. If floodwaters surround your car, exit the car immediately and move to higher ground.
  • If you must walk through moving water, use a stick to check the ground in front of you and keep your balance. Even roads and walkways where the water has receded could be weak and collapse under the weight of a car, person or even a pet.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are standing in water. Water may also be electrically charged due to fallen power lines, so pay close attention to your surrounding areas.

After a Flood

  • Survey your property for water damage, weak areas of land and downed power lines or trees.
  • Be sure to clean anything that came in contact with floodwaters thoroughly. Floodwaters can contain high levels of bacteria and potentially raw sewage.