Feb 08, 2007

Michigan Township Must Pay for Basement Sewage Spill

Officials in Lake Township, Mich., have paid over $8,700 to a local couple after gallons of a sewage lift station failure caused gallons of raw sewage to back up into their basement.

The lift station is supposed to retain effluent passing through the area on its way to sewer lines handled by the Galien River Sanitary District. The South Bend Tribune reports that this is only the second time in 10 years that the township has had to pay a resident due to a failed lift station.

The incident occurred over Thanksgiving and left three inches of wastewater and effluent in the basement of the couple’s new home. The payment was enough to cover lost property and clean-up fees.

Brian Jannert, one of the owners of the house, submitted a claim to his homeowners insurance and to the Sanitary District, but was denied by both. He then took his case to a meeting of the Township’s board of trustees. The board unanimously approved paying Jannert $8,764, as long as he agreed to install a back flow preventer in case the station fails again.

Jannert reported that it took the Sanitary District five hours to fix the wastewater problem. He also reported problems reaching the Sanitary District, as both the emergency number and the backup emergency number failed to work.
The incident occurred because at the time of the failure, the three-phase electrical power to the lift station went off and then back on, but one of the phases did not come back on. The lift station has since been repaired.