Cahokia residents claim raw sewage backed into basements

Andrea Dearden Jan. 12, 2012, 10:54am

More than a dozen Cahokia residents are suing the Village of Cahokia for sewer problems they say caused human waste to flow into the basements of their homes on multiple occasions.

Tara Davis, Linda and Herman Gordon, Latroy and Montrell Ingram, Teresa Thomas, Kori Washington, Iris Rodgers, Cherry and Carl Grimmett, Margaret, Larry and Landgia Jones filed the complaint Jan. 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against the Village of Cahokia, H & M Backhoe Service and Tiger Plumbing Services LLC.

The 47-page suit details what the homeowners say are ongoing problems with the sewer lines running near the intersection of Kutz Street and Donald Street and the intersection of Donald Street and Jones Street. They say both underground and external sewer piping in those areas have problems.

Davis and her neighbors say the city sewer system has been seriously dilapidated for about four years. The pipes allegedly collapsed. Residents say the collapse caused raw sewage to backflow into the basements of their homes on multiple occasions between April and August 2011.

The residents say they contacted Village of Cahokia administrators about the damage caused by the sewer backups. They say the city's insurance carrier told them H & M Backhoe had been hired to do work on the sewer and was ultimately responsible for any problems. The insurance carrier allegedly told the homeowners to contact H & M Backhoe directly with any complaints.

Davis and the other homeowners accuse the defendants of negligence, temporary nuisance and trespass. They say the Village of Cahokia and the two companies had a duty to properly care for the sewer in order to keep human waste, toilet paper and sewer water from running into their homes. The residents say they have been made sick by the sewage, been forced to pay for property damage and lost irreplaceable items as a result of the backup.

The homeowners are asking asking to be paid more than $50,000 on each of the 57-counts alleged in the complaint. Attorney Hrant "Hud" Norsigian Jr. of O'Fallon is representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Case No. 12-L-3

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