Backups become bother

Steady rain after what has been a saturated spring left a number of Minot residents fighting sewer backups Friday.

For neighbors Bruce Clark, Bob Timm and Frank Wickum, the sewer backup on Friday was just one more in a string of rain-related backups that have plagued homes along 13th Street Southeast near Corbett Field for years.

“I have had it eight times in the 15 years I have lived here,” said Clark, recalling the days when renderings from the former Cloverdale processing plant would be in the sewage. Due to early detection, the latest backup was limited to his laundry room, but Clark wasn’t sure how much damage might have been done to appliances.

“I am really frustrated right now,” said Wickum, standing in a basement that had accumulated three to four inches of backup before it started to recede. The sewer water destroyed work done over the winter to refinish a bedroom.

A plumber had been at the Timms’ house to verify that a check valve to prevent sewer backup was in good order about an hour before the backup occurred. Bob Timm said the valve, along with early detection, limited the damage.

The residents blame the frequent backups on a sewage lift station that is not up to the task and needs fixing.

In addition, residents who run their sump pumps into their sanitary sewer system can swamp lift stations. When that happens, someone along the line pays the price.

Timm, who has lived in his house since 2003, said his worst experience with backups was in 2010, when he ended up with 15 inches of sewage in his basement and had to replace all his appliances and furnace.

Clark recalled more than 10 years ago when the sewage came up as much as a few feet in the basements of about 25 homes in the neighborhood. Seldom are residents reimbursed for damages, but the city did assist homeowners that time, Clark said.