UPDATE: Petitioners demand action on sewer backups

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Flooded basement.

CORNWALL, Ontario - A collection of nearly 200 Cornwall homeowners are demanding the city take action to prevent more sewer backups into their homes following major rainstorms.

The residents have signed a petition that will go before city council Monday night.

Claude Jasmin, the man who started the petition, wants councillors to know that homeowners are getting hit directly in the wallet because of what he feels are shortcomings in the city's sewer system.

City councillors learned last month dozens of complaints came in from people living in the Twelfth, Ross and Patrick street areas, as well as Riverdale, about flooded basements and the like following a heavy downpour July 7.

"My basement was a complete write-off," Jasmin said, adding the final bill could hit $40,000, because his wife operates a daycare out of their home. "It has nothing to do with the foundation or the home. It's the sewage from the road."

It's the second time since 2010 that homeowners like Jasmin have faced a flood. Three years ago another major rainstorm saw basements getting flooded out.

This time around Jasmin had more than a foot of water in the basement.

He suggested the fact that his neigbourhood has just one sewer line - as opposed to another neighbourhoods in the city that also have a separate storm line - plays a role in adding to the flood threat.

"I'm not pretending to be an engineer, but it only makes sense if you're going to have everything in one pipe, there could be problems," he said.

John St. Marseille, the city’s new infrastructure manager, said data is being collected to determine how the flooding has evolved.

But some city councillors have already suggested that will come as cold comfort to people who have water in their homes.

Reports suggest 66 mm of rain fell in just two hours during the July 7 storm.

“That’s over two inches of rain, almost three,” said city CAO Norm Levac. “We’ve had a very large amount of rain in the last few months and it has saturated the soil.

“And the other factor is we’re getting higher intensity rain – in a short period of time.”

The city is expected to discuss storm drainage issues during budget deliberations.

Jasmin has installed a $2,300 backwater valve on his sewer line, but now faces the prospect of having to go with a high-risk insurance company, as his existing provider has cut him off.

He suggested other homeowners in the city face the same predicament.

Organizations: Seaway News

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario

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