To the editor:
That is what we were told by the city claims manager, after we had a meeting about a problem with their sewer service.
My wife and I arrived home from a vacation on March 13, 2011 to find that on March 12 the city sewer had backed up, flooding our basement. Thankfully our neighbours, who watched our house while we were away, caught the problem early before it got really bad.
About 7 p.m. on the 12th they came to check everything to find the sewer was backing up. They called a plumber who came and ran a drain snake 80 feet down the sewer line just to determine that it was the city line that was plugged.
The fire department was then called, as per protocol, who then got in touch with the city sewer plant and an employee was sent to inspect the problem. He arrived shortly after, around 10:30 p.m., and also determined it was sewer flowing into our basement.
Shortly after that, in the dark, he was able to find the pump lift station, remove the lid and determine that (as we were told) “a fat blockage” and he was able to remove this blockage and allow the sewer to flow freely.
Our neighbour told us that the pump had failed; this was reported to him by the plumber who went with the city employee.
This all happened within 30 minutes of the city arriving at our house, leaving, finding the problem, fixing it so the sewer then flowed from our basement.
I feel that a blockage that size, enough to fill an eight inch line, should be at least 80 to 100 feet long if the line has a one degree slope. Houses closer to the blockage should have flooded before ours which is the lowest on the system. (How much fat does it take?)
We questioned how often the lines were flushed and were shown that they were flushed in November of 2010, so that is four months. The time previous to that was in 2008. So why not a problem in that two-year period, and we have one in four months.
My wife and I feel we were wronged by the city, the system failed. The city says we are there to provide a service and if it fails we are not responsible—it is up to the citizens to make sure you have insurance to cover any problems that occur. We have clauses that make us not liable and if one clause doesn’t work we have a backup clause, which will cover us.
Check and make sure you have a back flow preventer. We do now, the city installed it for us and that, we are thankful for. And for sewer backup insurance—that we did have.
Dave and Kathy Andrew,