Archived Story

Stinky situation continuing for homeowners

Published 10:48pm Monday, September 12, 2011

Two Niles residents will be reimbursed for sewer cleanup in their basements after a manhole cover overflowed July 5.
Laura Hamilton and Angie Wagley, both of North 17th Street, reported to the Niles City Council Monday night that their basements filled with sewage from their neighborhood, ruining their basements, which they said were “finished” basements. They claim the sewage damage totaled $17,000 eaach.
When the homeowners contacted the City of Niles, they were told to call First Response, an emergency cleanup service.
“We’re here to find out what the city needs to do to put our homes back together,” Wagley told the city council Monday night.
Mayor Mike McCauslin explained that the Michigan Municipal League will cover approximately $5,000 of the cleanup for each home.
The City of Niles is a member of the MML, which includes sewer backup as part of its liability and property pool of risk management.
“We’ve asked MML to look at this,” said McCauslin, who explained that the MML failed to notify the homeowners they would be paid.
“They (Wagley and Hamilton) understand that the city has no obligation to assist them (the homeowners) with their loss,” McCauslin said.

Although the homeowners will receive payment for the cleanup in their basements, they still need to discuss damage and restoration payment with the city.
City Administrator Terry Eull will meet with Wagley and Hamilton to discuss the situation.
“I certainly don’t want to create a precedent for the city,” said McCauslin, who said that the city sent an “inconsistent message” about who the homeowners should have contacted.
Neither Wagley nor Hamilton had sewer backup insurance included on their homeowner policies.
“I think when you pay for city’s sewer, it’s very misleading that you would need it on your insurance,” Wagley said. “There’s a lot of loopholes there.”
For emergency sewer issues, City of Niles homeowners are advised to contact the Department of Public Works.

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