Local city refuses to pay for sewage backups - WNEM TV 5

Local city refuses to pay for sewage backups

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Letter sent to Tanja Smothers denying claim Letter sent to Tanja Smothers denying claim

The torrential downpours that hit Mid-Michigan last month caused the sewers to back up in the homes of many people in the area. But one local city says they are not going to help clean up, because it's not the city's fault.

Flooded basements and personal belongings of many Saginaw residents are now ruined and those residents have learned that they won't be getting any help from the city.

Tanja Smothers says her basement filled up with human waste after a storm in June. Tanja and many of her neighbors say they had to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pocket to clean up the foul smelling mess.

'I think it cost me about $5,000 dollars." said Smothers.

Next door to Tanja, Clark Singleton estimates his losses are even greater. He is demanding the city pay up, even though they've already sent out letters saying they won't.

"I pay my taxes and they should provide me services. This is their fault." said Singleton.

There are many more residents who say they need help. Several other neighbors approached TV5 to show the damages inside their homes.

WNEM wanted to get some answers. So we took our tough questions to the city clerk. Jane Santos responded to TV5, off camera. She says heavy rains caused the sewers to back up and because the sewer lines were functioning properly and there was no negligence on behalf of the city, the city is not responsible for the damages.

The response is not sitting well with the disgruntled residents.

Saginaw has denied property damage claims filed by more than 125 city residents who say the city's waste water system backed up into their properties in June. WNEM will keep you posted.

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