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immunity, public utilities, municipal liability, infrastructure, sewage, wastewater


Municipalities can contribute to sanitary sewer overflows through negligent maintenance, poor design, intrusion on sewer lines, and failure to replace aging sewer systems.Throughout the United States, an aging wastewater system is currently failing and is expected to degrade further, which contributes to sewage backups into residences. Arkansas is one of two states in the United States that prevents a resident from recovering damages from an overflow due to the negligent design or maintenance of sewage utilities by a municipality via statute. This Comment argues for a “middle ground” solution, whereby Arkansas municipalities should be required to obtain liability insurance sufficient to cover damages sustained by their citizens as the result of negligent or reckless maintenance of sewage infrastructure.