Vandalism of Grain Valley's sewer line costs homeowner big - KCTV5

Vandalism of Grain Valley's sewer line costs homeowner big

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Vandalism blocked a sewer line in Grain Valley, and that caused big issues for several homeowners.

The city says someone poured concrete into the sewer line. As a result, several homes saw water seep through the floor and flooded basements just before Thanksgiving including Michael Mays' residence.

Mays and his family moved into their new home on Northwest Cedar Lane just three months ago. His brother, who is battling cancer, lived in the finished basement.

"To wake up and find water in the basement, it was devastating," Mays said.

The carpet was ruined. The damage totaled nearly $10,000.

Mays thought the city of Grain Valley would pick up the tab.

"I met with her, took the receipts, emailed her some pictures thinking that two or three days later, the city was going to take responsibility. It never happened," Mays said.

Because it was intentionally done and not due to neglect by the city, Grain Valley is not responsible, Assistant City Manager Ryan Hunt said.

"When we have a back up like this, there's case law that states the city is responsible only if they have been notified and they have not taken action," Hunt said.

The city of Grain Valley stands behind a Missouri case law, Christ vs Metropolitan of St.Louis, which concludes that the city is responsible only if they have been notified about a problem and failed to take action, according to Hunt. The utilities are underground and no one could tell exactly when this occurred.

And insurance typically doesn't cover the damage without a separate sewer backup rider. The annual cost can be less than $100 on a residence.Your insurance company can provide a specific quote based on the appraised value of your residence.

Mays couldn't file a police report because he doesn't own the pipes and the city isn't filing one because they don't know when the damage occurred.

Mays is hoping Grain Valley officials will change their minds about the costs.

"I hope that they will come to their senses and take responsibility. We've been here since Sept. 15. It wasn't any negligence or fault of our own," he said.

In addition to purchasing a separate sewer backup rider, Midwest Public Risk's Terry Norwood suggests if you live below the main line that you invest in a back-flow preventer valve.

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