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Published March 25, 2010, 06:12 PM

Who Is Responsible For Sewer Back Up?

Who is responsible for the sewer backup in about a dozen homes in East Grand Forks? That's what an insurance adjuster was looking into today in the city after around a dozen homes suffered damage, including Karla Frost’s house.

Who is responsible for the sewer backup in about a dozen homes in East Grand Forks? That's what an insurance adjuster was looking into today in the city after around a dozen homes suffered damage, including Karla Frost’s house.

Frost says, "When I got down to our utility room to check it, it was about four to six inches deep. When I opened the door, it all came rushing out. Other people didn't get home soon enough, so they had 18 to 24 inches."

Despite catching the problem early, the flooding is still going to cost Frost plenty of money.

"Our insurance doesn't pay anything, so we're paying all out-of-pocket,” says Frost.

Frost is hoping the city can help. Today an insurance adjuster examined the mess and tried to figure out who will pay for the damages in this neighborhood...the city of East Grand Forks or the homeowners.

City Administrator Scott Huizenga says, "We have to go through our process with insurance, just like they do, and it's a frustrating situation we know."

Huizenga says the problem started two days ago when overland flood water funneled into a manhole that was missing its cover. That storm water rushed into the sewage lift station, overwhelmed it, and caused sewage back-up into basements. Huizenga says the cover was on the manhole last time city crews checked it in November.

Huizenga says, "We know as of last fall before the snow cover and everything, everything was in place. We're not sure what happened in between then and a couple days ago."

So as the city looks into what exactly happened, Frost is continuing with the clean-up and is thankful she didn't get it as bad as some of her neighbors.

"We just had the dirty, brown sewer backup. There are neighbors who have had raw sewage, so we're very thankful we didn't have that,” says Frost.

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