Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2006

Sewer backups plague older lines

January 5, 2006

Last week, a sewer line backup caused damage to several apartments in the area of 11th and Pine Streets. Although the city quickly responded to the issue, the sewer has left some citizens still looking for answers.

Debbie Peterson said she's had problems with gushing sewage more than once in the past few years in her downtown apartments.

The previous problem forced her to spend more than $1,500 to replace a carpet, she said.

The most recent leak forced her and her family to scramble.

"My son called me, and he said the sewer's pouring again," Peterson said. "So we hurried down there with a shop vacuum sucking the water out as fast as it what coming in."

She and her son had to shovel the incoming water out the door, Peterson said.

"The water was going into the heater vents like a waterfall," Peterson said.

The Peterson's neighbors also suffered from the backup, some even sustaining damage from black sewage, Peterson said.

"It's a city problem, so it's not one person to be mad at," Peterson said. "I'm sitting here frustrated and mad, but not knowing who to be mad at."

The city has recently been working to improve and expand the sewers including a video taping project to find decaying or damaged pipes.

"Most sewer back-ups are due to people throwing or flushing things down the sewer, intentionally or unintentionally," said city administrator Cheryl Beatty. "Then they get caught in the line system that causes a back-up."

While trying to fix the problem city workers found several items in the pipes including a metal watchband, a rock and several yards of orange plastic string, Beatty said..

"The backup is being investigated by an independent claims agent -- at this time we do not believe the video taping had anything to do with it," Beatty said.

Although backups don't happen aren't often for a town the size of Eudora, there are some ways to handle those bearing complaints, Beatty said.

"We advise a citizen that they need to provide their own clean-up and file a claim with their own and our insurance company," Beatty said.

At this point the city begins working with it's own insurance company, EMC insurance.

"They then hire an independent claims adjuster to investigate and determine liability," Beatty said. "That keeps any bias out of the investigation as much as possible."

The insurance company would then notify the city and the citizens with the results of the investigation.

"City Staff does not get involved in any of the process except to report their findings of the incident," Beatty said. "We would have a conflict of interest if we were to handle the clean-up or investigation."

To prevent future backup people should watch what they send down the drain, Beatty said.

"We want everyone to realize they should not put items in the sewer and it is a good idea to put Root-X down their private lines on a regular basis so roots in the lines don't cause things to catch on them," Beatty said.

This helps keep the lines flowing along with the city's efforts to keep the sewer lines maintained.

"The city does need to jet or clean lines on a regular basis, at least once every 3 years, to keep roots and items out of the system as much as possible," Beatty said.

With the planned improvement to the sewer system back-ups could be come more rare.

The city will be lining the pipes with sturdier materials to prevent roots to grow and cause the eventual back up

"The newer pipe being installed in the old and new sections of town is not as easily penetrated by roots," Beatty said. "The city cannot prevent people from putting items into the system -we can only ask for cooperation."

person to be mad at," Peterson said. "I'm sitting here frustrated and mad but not knowing who to be mad at."

The city has recently been working to improve and expand the sewers, including a video taping project to find decaying or damaged pipes.

"Most sewer backups are due to people throwing or flushing things down the sewer, intentionally or unintentionally," said city administrator Cheryl Beatty. "Then, they get caught in the line system that causes a back-up."

While trying to fix the problem, city workers found several items in the pipes including a metal watchband, a rock and several yards of orange plastic string, Beatty said.

"The backup is being investigated by an independent claims agent. At this time, we do not believe the video taping had anything to do with (recent backups)," Beatty said.

Although backups don't happen often for a town the size of Eudora, there are some ways to handle those with complaints, Beatty said.

"We advise a citizen that they need to provide their own clean-up and file a claim with their own and our insurance company," Beatty said. After a complain is filed, the city begins working with its own insurance company, EMC insurance.

"They then hire an independent claims adjuster to investigate and determine liability," Beatty said. "That keeps any bias out of the investigation as much as possible."

The insurance company would then notify the city and the citizens with the results of the investigation.

"City staff does not get involved in any of the process except to report their findings of the incident," Beatty said. "We would have a conflict of interest if we were to handle the clean-up or investigation."

To prevent future back-ups, people should watch what they up down the drain, Beatty said.

"We want everyone to realize they should not put items in the sewer, and it is a good idea to put Root-X down their private lines on a regular basis so roots in the lines don't cause things to catch on them," Beatty said.

She said using Root X helps keep the lines flowing, along with the city's efforts to keep the sewer lines maintained.

"The city does need to jet or clean lines on a regular basis, at least once every three years, to keep roots and items out of the system as much as possible," Beatty said.

With the planned improvement to the sewer system, back-ups could become more rare.

The city plans to line the pipes with sturdier materials to prevent root growth."The newer pipe being installed in the old and new sections of town is not as easily penetrated by roots," Beatty said.

"The city cannot prevent people from putting items into the system. We can only ask for cooperation."

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