O’FALLON, Mo. – A nightmare for a family in O’Fallon, Missouri. They reached out to the You Paid For It team when sewage backed up into their home because of trouble with the city’s stormwater sewer.
Ashley and Joel Gibson said they couldn’t live in their home for weeks. They were out of town celebrating their wedding anniversary when they got a call from a neighbor saying that sewage was flooding their home.
They returned to see a nightmare. Ashley and Joel talk about how bad it was.
”We’ve had to get significant work done just to make our home livable again. We weren’t able to move back in because it was a biohazard for several weeks,” Ashley said.
“Yeah, they considered this a category three biohazard situation, so the entire basement needed to be gutted, sanitized, and remediated of all the sewage,” Joel said.
Their homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage because it was a problem with the city’s stormwater sewer. The couple has to pick up the entire bill themselves.
Joel said it’s been costly.
“We’re about $40,000 out of pocket to date just to make our home liveable again,” he said.
Apparently, the debris in the city sewer, as well as a buildup of oil and grease, caused it to back up into Gibson’s home. The couple turned to FOX 2 when they couldn’t get answers from the City of O’Fallon.
We went to city hall and talked to city spokesman Tony Michalka, director of communication. The city’s insurance company said O’Fallon was not going to pay.
“It is the city sewer, it is. We do operate that sewer line,” Michalka said. However, things that are introduced to that system that are not there and not designed to be there, the city does not bear the financial responsibility for that.”
Michalka did offer a suggestion.
”I’m not saying they’re out of luck, Elliott. I’m saying there is a reimbursement program available that’s been offered to them,” he said. The program reimburses up to $3,000 for clean up and repair for things such as that.”
“You would think that if that’s a known issue, they would take preventative measures to prevent that from happening,” Ashley said. “And there’s nothing to prevent this from happening again if the city is saying this is something that can happen anytime, and they’re not responsible for it.”
“I think they need to be held accountable. They own the line, they should be held accountable,” Joel said. “If it was an issue with my line that damaged someone else’s home, I should be held accountable.”