O’FALLON, Mo. – A Missouri State Representative from St. Charles answers the call to help with a sewer backup crisis families faced in O’Fallon.
After another family contacted FOX 2 for assistance following a backup at their home due to a blockage in the city’s sewer system, we got in touch with Rep. Phil Christofanelli for help.
Griffin Wielgus said he came home to find sewage covering his basement floor. He thought the cleanup and the cost of getting his home back would cost around $30,000. The City of O’Fallon said it’s not responsible for the cost, even though it’s the city’s sewer line.
Wielgus’s homeowners’ insurance won’t cover the cost either, saying, it’s the city’s fault. For Wielgus, dealing with O’Fallon has been a real challenge.
“I think they should be accepting responsibility. I don’t know what they expect people to be able to do,” he said. “If it’s their main lines that are backing up, it’s not that them, or I have done anything wrong. We have to deal with all this sewerage and throwing everything away.”
One O’Fallon family faced expenses of $100,000 in damages at their home. Another family $40,000. The City of O’Fallon only offered up to $3,000.
Christofanelli said he plans to take a hard look at this deal.
“The state needs to look into what obligations our local governments are going to have when damages are caused to people’s residence, especially in a devastating way like this,” he said. “We need to make sure they’re adequately insured so that the damages can be compensated for, so the families in our communities can know that their properties are safe.”
“The city, because we operate the sewer system, doesn’t automatically put us liable for any kind of backups or damages,” said Tony Michalka for the City of O’Fallon.
Christofanelli said first he’ll do some fact-finding and may ultimately hold hearings to get to the bottom of the issue with an eye on getting some relief for flood-weary residents.