West County homeowner wants MSD to pay up for water-soaked basement

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 30 at 10:00 PM

(KMOV) -- Homeowners in one west county town tell News 4 the Metropolitan Sewer District is just as responsible for flooding as Mother Nature. 
 
In video taken by a viewer, there is standing water, ruining belongings in the basement shown. 
Now, the homeowner says MSD is refusing to take responsibility.
 
“We pay them money to take the sewage and pssh, they are sending it right back and saying it’s your problem,” said homeowner Rick Johnson. 
 
Johnson says a system MSD installed on his home to keep the water out is doing just the opposite.
MSD workers have installed valves like the one in Johnson’s yard on thousands of homes in the St. Louis area.
 
It acts like a gate, letting sewer water out, but not back in.
 
Officials say even during times of heavy rain, the valve rarely fails But Johnson told News 4; they’re just trying to pass the buck.  After all, he’s been through this before.
 
“This is my third backup so I’ve already thrown away a lot of stuff,” he said. 
But in years past, MSD has paid for the damages.
 
This time though, Johnson said, he’s being left to foot the bill alone.
“I think it’s bogus,” he said. 
 
On April 19, an inspector left a note at Johnson’s house saying the catch valve in Johnson’s front yard, installed in 2011 to prevent this very problem, had failed.
 
Tuesday, a worker even replaced a major part on the valve.
 
Even still, Johnson says he’s been told by MSD engineers it’s not their problem, but a pipe under Johnson’s home.
 
“That pipe has some cracks in it some microscopic pipes in it that wouldn’t necessarily be obvious,” said MSD spokesperson Debbie Johnson. 
 
Johnson told News 4, the case is still open.
 
“I was told by our risk manager just a few moments before you got here that it is under investigation and we are going to see what else we can do to help him,” Johnson said. 
 
That’s not what Johnson has heard. On disability and a fixed income, he’s fed-up.
“I don’t know what else to do,” he said. 
 
With more rain in the forecast this week, he’s worried the flood waters will return. 
News 4’s Lauren Trager will stay on top of MSD to see what it will do.
 

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