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Plugged drain line leads to flooding in several homes in Layton

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Posted at 7:46 PM, Jul 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-31 23:19:02-04

LAYTON, Utah -- Four homes in Layton started to fill with water on Friday morning after a city drain line plugged.

"I mean it was up to here, up to here, up to the baseboards," said Ryan Flint, standing in his basement as disaster cleanup crews tried to suck the water out of his carpet. "I think my modem is fried. I don't know about the TVs, haven't tried those out yet."

The water started to flow into Flint's house sometime around 10:30 a.m. Friday. He would find out three of his neighbors were dealing with the same problem.

"These developments have a natural flow of water underneath them," said Gary Crane, the Layton City Attorney from outside of Flint's house.

The water is supposed to follow drain lines around each house and empty into a main line under the street. On Wednesday, city work crews inspected the line and gave it the all clear.

Somehow, in just two days time, that changed.

"It appears that there's something that clogged the line; in other words, it's not just a natural and gradual plugging of the line," Crane said.

It isn't the first time the neighborhood has experienced groundwater flooding. Marshall Thompson lives right next door to a house that flooded on Friday, but not a drop of water made it into his basement. After twice seeing water soak his carpet, he put in a series of sump pumps. On Friday, his house was spared.

But sump pumps were not enough for some houses. Even with pumps running, water still filled the basements.

The city of Layton has emergency funds to pay for immediate clean up efforts, up to $2,000 per house according to Crane. With televisions, carpets and furniture ruined, some homeowners will face repair bills beyond that cap.

"I'm hoping that the city pays for it," Flint said.

That may not happen. First, the city has to determine how a main drain line got plugged just two days after inspection. If it proves to be a maintenance issue, it still may not fall on the city to pick up the costs.

"For cities there are conditions that have to occur before the city is liable, those are governed by state law," Crane said.

An answer as soggy and miserable for some of the homeowners left cleaning up the mess.

"If they take it out, make it right, I'm not concerned--but I don't want the same carpet, that's some nasty carpet," Flint said.