Skip to comments.Man, City Still At Odds Over Sewer Leak Repairs
Posted on 10/04/2013 11:36:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Nearly two weeks after a sewer line ruptured causing raw sewage to flood Jose Vera's house, he still hasn't worked out a deal with the city to get his floors and some of his walls replaced.
Raw sewage flooded Vera's Cheryl Street house after something went wrong while city crews were working on a nearby sewer line Sept. 24. Vera said the city promised to fix the damages at its expense, but he said officials are now stalling.
He said city officials postponed a meeting set for Friday afternoon, citing the employee who issue checks was out sick, but he believes it's probably a stall tactic.
"It's been horrible," he said. "It's been a lot of pressure on me and my wife and my entire family."
Although the city covered the $2,000 it cost for a professional cleaning crew to remove the sewage, Vera said his house still smells and mold has started growing on his floors and around his shower drain.
Vera is staying in a hotel at the city's expense while it tries to reach an agreement on how much it should pay Vera for repairs, but it doesn't appear that he and city are close on the figures.
Vera said his contractor estimated the damages at $57,000, but he said the city wants to settle for $28,000, about half.
Donna James-Spruce, the city's risk manager who handles these kinds of cases, wouldn't comment on Vera's specific case, but said if both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case usually goes to mediation in which both parties split the attorney's fees.
James-Spruce said the statutory cap on the amount for which the city is liable is $100,000.
"I think what they're doing is trying to wait me out; [they think] maybe I'll give in."
Vera is scheduled to meet with city officials Monday.
There are published industry standards for the remediation of this type of damage. Proper decontamination generally requires a great deal more money than cities are willing to cough up without a fight.
This guy may simply have to pack up and move. If the mold colonies have started, this place has become an unsafe bacteria magnet. I wouldn’t want to breathe in there all night. If he is fortunate, or pushy, he should get a deal on some other property a few miles away. Take the $28K plus a long term lease somewhere else. Many cities are short on funding these days. This could drag out for years.
In a sewage contaminated environment, mold is the least of your worries.
Mold will very seldom kill you, though it might very well make you sick.
Sewage organisms can easily lead to fatal infections.
This happens to be my line of work, so I am quite up on what is involved to do it properly.
BTW, it is entirely possible to decontaminate homes for both mold and sewage. Expensive, but doable.
Where I live, if your sewer, fresh water, any pipe to your house breaks or causes a problem between the road and your house, you are 100% responsible for the cost. I don’t think it’s ever been challenged in court, though.
That isn’t what happened here, a city crew sent sewage into his house is what I’m seeing.