Invasion of raw sewage is subject of suit

Kelly Holleran Mar. 10, 2009, 3:00am

A Madison County couple has filed suit against the city of Edwardsville and Veolia Water North America-Central after they claim raw sewage backed up into their basement.

Rodney and Sandra Wolter filed the eight-count suit March 4 in Madison County Circuit Court, seeking more than $400,000 for the Sept. 11 incident.

Although Edwardsville and Veolia Water knew that the physical configuration of the sewer lines, manholes and lift stations were prone to cause back-up into the Wolters' home, both failed to remedy the problem before it occurred, the suit states.

"The invasion of raw sewage into Plaintiffs' basement was due to either Defendant's negligent actions or Defendant's intentional actions," the suit states.

Because of the raw sewage that leaked into their basement, the Wolters claim they endured discomfort and annoyance and incurred cleaning, sanitization, repair, replacement and improvement costs.

They also suffered damage to personal property that held great sentimental value, have suffered a depreciation in the value of their home and have been denied the comfortable use and enjoyment of their property, according to the complaint.

Edwardsville and Veolia Water were negligent by failing to operate and maintain the sewer system in a safe manner, by failing to inspect and refurbish the sewer system, by failing to adequately design the sewer system in a safe manner, by failing to adequately operate and maintain the sewer lines and by failing to respond to the Wolters' complaints of sewer backup in a timely manner, the suit states.

The city and the water company also negligently violated various sections of the Illinois Code of Ordinances, the Wolters' allege.

In addition to the $400,000, the Wolters are seeking costs and other relief the court deems just.

Hrant "Hud" Norsigian Jr. of Norsigian Law Office in O'Fallon will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-0203.

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