Sewer back-up in Granite City prompts suit

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 17, 2006, 3:57am

Having grown tired of raw sewage running onto their property after heavy rains, a Granite City couple filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court seeking at least $150,000 in damages.

Michael and Linda Evola claim sewage seeped into the lower level of their home at 39 Georgetown Drive on Jan. 4, 2005, after a rainstorm in the metro-east area backed up the sewer system.

The suit names Granite City, Madison County Sewer District, City of Pontoon Beach and the City of Mitchell.

"Defendants had a duty to use reasonable care in the operation, maintenance, inspection, refurbishing, design and construction of the sewer system so as not to cause injury to plaintiffs and others rightfully using or attempting to use the sewer system," the complaint states.

According to the complaint filed Jan. 3, the defendants caused the back-up by failing to operate the sewer system in a safe and reasonable manner.

The Evolas also claim the defendants failed to:

  • Maintain the sewer system in a safe and reasonable manner;

  • Inspect the sewer system;

  • Refurbish the sewer system in a safe and reasonable manner;

  • Properly operate and maintain the lift station to avoid excess infiltration of ground water into the sewer system, via the lift station during times of heavy rainfall;

  • Equip the lift station with a sewer pipe exiting the lift station that was of sufficient size to handle the expected volume of sewage;

  • Allowed the lift station to be placed in a low lying area that is more susceptible to surface water accumulation;

  • Properly manage and remedy the storm water flooding problem immediately adjacent to the lift station;

  • Implement, maintain and operate a system that would timely notify them of any lift station malfunction or power outage; and

  • Respond to the Evolas complaints of sewer back-up in a timely fashion.

    The Evolas claim that they have endured discomfort and annoyance from the time their real property was inundated with sewage until presently.

    The Evolas claim they have spent money for cleaning and sanitation of the personal and real property, spent money for repairs, replacements and improvements to their property, suffered damage to articles of personal property with great sentimental value, suffered a depreciation in the market, rental or usable value of their real property.

    "The invasion of raw sewage into the Evola's home was unreasonable," the complaint states.

    The Evolas are represented by John Cunningham of Belleville.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Don Weber.

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