Sewage overflows in several Sugar House homes

Posted at 4:10 PM, Mar 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-17 18:10:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a stinky mess in a Sugar House neighborhood this weekend as more than a dozen homeowners were shocked to see sewage seeping into their homes from pipes designed to do the opposite.

The raw sewage came from toilets, sinks and even bathtubs in at least 15 homes in the Sugar House area. Ted Roos was one of the unlucky homeowners facing the smelly high-tide.

“The bathroom toilet was gushing water, and the tub was filled with dirty water, and the basement already had 2 inches of water in it,” he said.

Roos said a neighbor called him around 10 a.m. on Saturday to warn him to check his basement. Roos said the 2 inches of water eventually rose to 8 inches. He said he felt helpless to funnel the messy water away, and he had no way to stop it from filling his home.

“It was gushing out like a geyser type thing,” he said.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities said the sewage came into homes because a pipe was backed up, which is an issue they said has since been repaired. Disaster crews are still working to clear the toxic matter and other messes left behind.

Roos said he and his family stayed in a hotel Saturday night and will probably do so again on Sunday as they wait for their home to become livable again, which he said may be an expensive project.

“I am sure before we get done we could be in $20,000,” he said.

Roos said the city did respond to residents impacted by the incident, but he said he isn't sure what, if anything, they will do to help.

"They hand you out a form and say, 'fill this out and submit your claim and if you have questions contact legal advice'-- now what does that tell you? It tells me it's not going to be an easy road," he said.

Roos said his homeowner's insurance won't be helping them.

"I've come to learn that in your homeowner's insurance there is a clause that you should have added that talks about sewage back-up cause some policies don't have it--we don't come to find out," he said.