Insurance fails to cover sewage backup caused by neighbor's tree

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by BRIANA BERMENSOLO & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 28 at 6:17 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A Spokane woman contacted KREM 2 when she learned that her neighbor’s tree roots cause her sewer to back up into her house.

Patricia Comer said the sewage flooded her basement and it is not the first time. Comer and her boyfriend, David Gleason, called a plumber who determined underground roots are blocking their sewer line from a neighbor’s tree.

“You can’t do laundry, you can’t flush the toilets, you can’t wash the dishes,” said Gleason.

Every two or three months, Comer said she has been dealing with the same problem. The pipes outside her house backup with tree roots. Then, the sewage and water start to flood her in her laundry room, into the basement and sometimes even make it far enough into the back bedroom.

There is now mold growing where carpet and drywall need to be replaced. Comer said the local SNAP Program has helped in the past but she has reached the max amount of help offered.

A new pipe will cost $5,000 and she said she does not have the money.

Comer is not the only one in Spokane dealing with sewer problems. Phones have been ringing 24 hours a day at Able Rooters. Calob Stolz is in the business of cleaning out sewer lines. He said it is much easier to perform yearly maintenance on pipes then respond to emergency calls of backed up sewage.

“It could be roots have grown in enough to cause damage to the pipe. Homeowners are responsible up to the city connection whether that’s the street, the sidewalk or the alley,” said Stolz.

Comer said her homeowners insurance does not cover this type of sewer backup. If you find yourself in the same situation, even if it is your neighbor’s tree roots, you might be on your own to pay for cleanup.  

 

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