Bellevue residents say city program caused flooding in homes

Posted at 11:18 PM, Aug 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 07:59:24-04

A group of neighbors in a Bellevue neighborhood are in a tug of war with the city over sewage problems that caused major flooding in their homes.

Three homeowners on Courtney Drive firmly believe concrete residue from a city resurfacing project jammed up the sewer lines, which led to a nasty back flow in their basements, costing them thousands of dollars in repairs.

Kim Jenne, who has lived in her Bellevue home for 35 years says she’s never had sewage problems until shortly after the city resurfaced the sidewalks on her street in March.

Jenne was out of town for several days in mid April, weeks after the resurfacing, and came back to find her entire basement flooded and destroyed from mold, sewage, and contamination, forcing her to remove all the carpet and flooring.

“There was sewage everywhere. All over here. And it had leaked out all over the carpet and underneath everything,” said Jenne.

Jenne had a plumber check the drains, and was told there were concrete chunks at the bottom of the drain, which she believed to be caused by the resurfacing.

“At first I thought it was maybe just my house. But the same thing happened to my neighbor. She had to pull out her flooring and remove everything from her basement bathroom. So it’s too much of a coincidence, we’re on the same sewer line, how did this happen?” said Jenne.

Jenne reached out to the city several times to see if they could send someone to her home to check the drains and investigate whether her sewage problems were connected to the resurfacing.

“Someone just came out, lifted the lid to the manhole and said ‘oh, there’s nothing down there.’ It just kind of bothers me because nobody has been out to see, to talk, to see what’s going on,” said Jenne. “There seems to be a communication issue because there’s not one set person to take this on. And it’s been months of this.”

Cynthia Hull, a neighbor who lives down the street shares the same frustration. Last Monday, her main sewer backed up into her basement, destroying her basement and floors.

Hull had Roto-Rooter inspect a manhole outside her home. She says video captured on their snake-cam showed the drain clogged with cement chunks.

Hull says she called the city immediately, asking them to come unclog the drain. She says someone from the city told her the city didn’t have the tools to unclog the drain, but that they would hire Roto-Rooter to do the job. Hull says nobody ever came.

In an email obtained by 3 News Now between a Wastewater Operations Manager from the city and Hull, the manager says they inspected the manhole and found no debris. The manager continues to say that a contractor (Omni Engineering) made an adjustment to the manhole mid-May and “since the line was reported backed up over a month after this work was performed, it is highly unlikely this was caused by the contractor...At this point we recommend you have a plumber jet and clean your lateral. Lateral maintenance is the responsibility of the homeowner.”

Hull and Jenne disagree.

They’ve emailed the video with the cement chunks to the mayor and city attorney, disputing that it’s the city’s responsibility to fix the manhole and lines.

“Something needs to happen, because I'm not the only one in the neighborhood and it's a public health issue and I don't want my kids getting sick because the sewer backs up again. We've spent a chunk of money already to get it mitigated and treated and I don't really need that to get backed up again,” said Hull. “The contractor says it’s not their fault. The city says it’s not their fault. Well it’s not the homeowners fault.”


3 News Now reached out to the city of Bellevue Wednesday afternoon but did not hear back.