Sewer Backups Damage Businesses in Massachusetts

Dec. 26, 2018

In Milford, Mass., sewage started spewing into downtown businesses from a grease blockage

For a week in November of 2018, sewage oozed into the basement spa at Bellagente Salon in Milford, Mass.

“It was a nightmare,” said owner Sasha Meyer to the Milford Daily News. “I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.”

Milford Sewer Department Director of Operations John Mainini said the problem was a partial grease blockage stemming from weeks of heavy rain. According to Mainini, the pipe was never fully clogged so no flags were raised during regular inspections. However, there was not enough room for necessary flow, Mainini said.

“We’ve done some work in that area [since],” he said to the Daily News. “We don’t think it’s going to affect them in the next rain storms that we have.”

Meyer called plumbing and cleanup companies and town hall departments during the week of Nov. 13. However, she had to shut down and she could not even do laundry.

“My esthetician’s sink was the first area that water could back up and come into,” Meyer said to the Milford Daily News. “It’s the closest to the actual sewer line. [It was] coming up through the sink and geysering into her room.”

According to Milford Daily News, all over Main Street property owners and manager found their pipes overwhelmed by a blockage on the main line in November.

“It smelled like holy hell,” said Police Chief Thomas O’Loughlin, of the back up into the police station’s lower level, to the Daily News. “This was feces. It’s just not healthy.”

According to Meyer, she spent about $30,000 in cleanup and sanitation costs. The flooring in the police station’s lower level had yet to be replaced. According to the Daily News, the town did not have an estimate for police station cleanup costs.

Some projects have already been in the works, such as an inflow and infiltration study, planned for the spring when water flow is highest. According to the Daily News, the study will follow-up to one from 2004 and should pinpoint where water is coming from, problem areas and the most effective way to direct flow.

The department also has a program to disconnect basement sump pumps from the town’s sewer lines. According to Mainini, the pumps should not be draining into the town’s sewers because they contribute to high flows in town.