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Sewage System Failure Leaves Several Blaine Basements Destroyed

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) -- A rare sewage problem caused a significant backup into about a dozen homes in Blaine Monday night.

It happened at about 9:30 p.m. in the Amen Corner, a community near the Tournament Players Club Twin Cities private golf course near 109th and Radisson Road. Crews and homeowners cleaned up the mess through the night and all day into Tuesday.

Many homeowners said they were first overwhelmed by the unmistakable smell, they soon found sewage spewing in their basements and in many cases, the whole bottom level will have to be gutted and rebuilt.

Geri Nygaard and her husband Ed, ages 80 and 82, remodeled the basement of their retirement home just a year ago. Now they'll have to start all over again. Sewage now soaks carpets, walls, even century old antique furniture.

"Eventually it ran all over, very fast, very fast," said Ed Nygaard.

"I think the entire basement is pretty much toast," said Chuck Plowe, who said sewage spewed into his dream home and a second rental property in the development.

Even worse, his homeowner's insurance doesn't cover this type of disaster. Blaine's utility department traced the backup to a glitch at a sewage lift station.

"I have never seen it and I've been in this field 26 years now," said John Lind, the Blaine Public Works utilities supervisor. He said a part that regulates sewage levels called a transducer failed, but the alarm on the warning system also failed.

Blaine Sewage
(credit: CBS)

"If the alarm would have let us know, none of this would have happened," he said.

Many of the clean-up crews say in the worst cases, the clean-up will cost $10,000, not including what it will take to rebuild.

The Nygaards are knee-deep in frustration and say any help would be a Godsend for the neighbors on Amen Drive.

"It is a loss of our room and how long we are going to be under this mess," said Geri Nygaard.

"Obviously I want to see if there will be any compensation, so we are going to find out," said Plowe.

The city of Blaine went door-to-door Tuesday telling homeowners to document the damage and file a claim with their insurance company.

The city also alerted its insurance company, the League of Minnesota Cities, to work with homeowners on what can be covered in this situation. Lind said his department will definitely go to look at the reason for the failure and consider installing more back-up alarms to prevent a costly clean-up in the future.

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