Homeowners in Winnipeg search for answers after wet concrete flows back into the house through the sewer
Fraser Jack’s living room armchair and his vacuum cleaner are now glued to the floor.
He is one of several homeowners in the northern area of ??Scotia Heights in Winnipeg. They are responsible for dealing with the consequences of wet concrete sewer backup and seeking answers from the city.
Jack was working outside the city on Saturday when the incident occurred. After his father checked his home, he called him and told him the news.
“It basically came out of the toilet, and squirted out from there,” Jack said. “It also filled up all the drain pipes and a quarter of my bathtub.”
The mixture spreads along the corridor to the two bedrooms, his living room and the bathroom on the main floor. It covered a large area of ??his basement, even gushing from the drain on the side of his house, covering a small road outside.
The extent of the damage is still unknown.
“It’s tragic, it’s just shocking,” he said.
A spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg stated that the problem originated from a construction project on the corner of Semple Avenue and Scotia Street on May 29.
The city hired a contractor to build a new main shaft for land drainage and sewer at the intersection. The spokesperson said that the crew was “grouting the main shaft when the joint sewer ruptures”, adding that the mixture had flowed into the sewers of 12 households.
Reason for investigation: city
The staff has cleared the main sewer, and the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
When Kaitlin Bialek was at home on Saturday, the concrete mixture poured into her basement and covered the floor.
“It’s like bubbling,” she said. “It’s almost the volcano you imagine.”
Bialek said that she and her husband called the city’s 311 hotline to alert construction workers and warned other neighbors from house to house.
The staff prevented the flow of concrete, but she said she was disappointed by the city’s response. She said it took several hours for the city staff to arrive.
“When this happens, they should have someone here, and they should hire every repair company they can find to help all these people,” she said. “We shouldn’t handle this by ourselves.”
Jack said he was also disappointed by the city’s response.
“I hope they can take more time to answer the questions and give us some answers,” he said, adding that the biggest frustration now is taking time off to deal with the loss.
The city says to pass insurance first
A spokesperson for the city said that homeowners should contact their insurance provider for advice on damage and loss.
After that, “if residents believe that the city or the contractor working on its behalf is responsible, they can choose to file a claim against the city,” the spokesperson said.
Back at Jack’s house, the cleaning crew will be on-site to deal with the mess on Friday. He said that his insurance will cover damage to the house, but not the content.
“If it is a fire, flood or natural disaster, I will be protected,” he said. “I said,’I didn’t know that there was a box to get cement from the sewer back into my house.'”
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