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Rexburg residents blame city for sewage in homes

Rexburg residents blame city for sewage in homes

REXBURG, Idaho - After Tuesday's flash flood, more than 20 homes in one Rexburg neighborhood were filled with raw sewage, and some homeowners are blaming the city.

Homeowner Cammie Muir thought she'd escaped the worst of Tuesday's storm until she looked in her basement.

"I got sewage in my hallway, in my bathroom and in my furnace room," said Muir.

Dozens of Muir's neighbors faced the same problem.

Traci Sessions said her Rodney Street home was ankle-deep in sewage Tuesday night.

"Just kept flowing out for over two hours before they were able to get it fixed," said Sessions.

Sessions and others said this happened because the city-owned pump station failed.

"One little drain is trying to drain and it fills up that lift station, the lift station shuts down," said Muir.

Muir said this isn't the first time this has happened. She said her home and others in her neighborhood were inundated with sewage in 2007, and she said the same pump station was to blame.

"We just want to know why the city hasn't fixed the problem. They know there's a problem there," said Muir.

But Rexburg Public Works director John Millar said this week's flooding is nothing like what happened seven years ago.

"They're not really comparable events. One was man-caused, one was caused by nature," said Millar.

Because the city's insurance carrier has ruled this week's flooding and subsequent pump station failure an "act of nature," the city said it isn't liable for the sewage in people's homes.

Homeowners beg to differ.

"Yes, the water was an act of God when it rained, but the fact that their equipment wasn't capable to handle it has been known for seven years," said Sessions.

Sessions said she will likely have to pay close to $5,000 to clean up her home.

Muir said if the city's insurance company continues to refuse to cover her damages, her insurance company has told her it plans to sue the city.

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