MSD blames grease plug for causing sewage backup into Berkeley homes

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BERKELEY, MO - Several Berkeley residents are dealing with cleaning up raw sewage that backed up into their basements.

The culprit, a clogged MSD sewer main.

“You have a water main break- it`s like that, just coming out of the floor, out the sewer, the sewer drain,” said Ronnie Ransom describing the water that came into his basement.

He says his basement had around a foot of water in it.

“I didn`t know what was going on you know; kind of scared because my wife is real sick you know and I`m wondering what`s going to happen,” explained Ronnie.

“The water had gotten up to ankle-deep,” said Stephan Griffin about the water in his basement.

He lives next door to Ronnie.

Stephan`s toilet overflowed leading to water in his basement.

MSD says the basements of at least four homes, possibly five on Madison Avenue just off I-170 in Berkeley wound up with raw sewage in them on Wednesday.

Ronnie says many items in his basement from his furnace to furniture could now be damaged.

Stephan tried to stop his toilet from overflowing but it was too late.

Stephan tells us he and his family just recently finished part of the basement...he can`t believe what happened.

“I`m very upset at this point, the water itself did create a stench. You can still kind of smell it down here,” said Griffin.

MSD crews were on the scene.

Spokesperson Sean Hadley says grease that was improperly disposed of clogged up an underground sewer main causing the back-ups.

Hadley says the grease was likely dumped down a drain or drains instead of being put into a container and thrown away.

Workers unclogged the main but for the families, the damage is done.

Ronnie told us, “I don`t know how bad it`s messed up yet til the water go all the way down.”

Ronnie says his wife is ill and that his furnace which was in the basement wouldn`t turn back on once the water receded.

Ronnie was worried about his wife as the temperature in their home started to slowly drop on Wednesday night.

We reached out to MSD and officials there told us they are going to put Ronnie and his family up in a hotel for the time being.

Hadley says MSD will reimburse the families for the cost of cleaning up their basements.

Hadley tells us MSD officials are also going to start an investigation to see if they can find out where the grease came from.

If they can find the source of who improperly disposed of the grease, Hadley says whoever is responsible could be billed by MSD for the clean-up costs.

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