Jon Stevens

This situation really stinks

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I do, I really do, sympathize with homeowners who experienced the misfortune of having their water pipes burst during recent frigid conditions.


I can imagine the frustration and anxiety of helplessly discovering carpets, furniture and prized possessions saturated with water as it comes through the ceiling like rain, depending on where the break occurred.


But if there is one positive aspect to this calamity, remember, the water gushing through your house is “clean.” It came through water pipes.


I, too, had an issue with water appearing where it should not – in my basement just before Christmas. My water was not clean. It was rain water that backed up because there was blockage in the main sewer line on my street, a blockage created not of my doing, but from paper towels being flushed down a toilet, or so the Washington-East Washington Joint Authority said.


Now, the rain water saturated the ground and because my sewer line is of the old terra-cotta variety, the water ostensibly would have made its way into the line and, under normal circumstances, traveled into the main line into the street.


Instead, it backed up and erupted through two drains in my basement, covering the fortunately unfinished basement in two inches of water.


Yes, rain water is clean but it traveled through a sewer line, thus becoming contaminated, which meant everything that touched the water either had to be disinfected if the material was plastic or metal, or thrown away if not, which happened more than I want to accept.


Because the water was not clean, it will cause mold to grow on certain materials and that mold in turn will produce bacteria, which in turn, can produce spores that can be released into the air. None of this is good.


So, after thousands of dollars spent on cleanup and lost property, the kicker is that insurance pays nothing. Why? Because the blockage did not occur in the line on my property, but in the joint authority line.


This is not intended to sound like sour grapes, but I feel victimized, first by a situation not created by me, and second, by the provisions of a restrictive homeowner’s policy. And by the way, the joint authority put a camera in my sewer line and it is just fine – no roots or no cracks.


To those facing a cleanup ahead because of frozen pipes, be grateful because I am pretty sure your insurance will cover most, if not all, of your claim.


For me, I now look forward with dealing with restoration contractors because a wall in the basement apparently has to be replaced and more items need to be hauled away professionally.


And as it has been since the beginning of this mess, the cost will be on me.


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