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August 19, 2010 05:56 PM

City Paying Money To Homes With Sewage Backup

Sioux Falls, SD

It's been three weeks since the skies opened up and dropped several inches of rain on the Sioux Falls area. The downpour caused sewer backups and led to a city sewer emergency.
And now some homeowners are getting paid for the problems from the sewer system.

The city plans to start sending out its first round of checks Friday to help homeowners who had sewage backup insurance and were impacted by the recent rain.

"If they did then they are eligible to receive a refund of their deductible. In most cases that ranged anywhere from $250 to $1,000," Sioux Falls Risk and Emergency Manager Mike Hall said.

The checks are part of a relief program set up for homeowners in 2003. Hall says the city is also paying for the damage done in homes that didn't have insurance to cover sewer backups.

"We'll send a staff person to meet with the homeowner, review the damage, their loss to their personal property and come up with a priority needs list," Hall said.

Those people can receive up to $5,000 for cleanup and to replace damaged appliances. But the program is only for the homes hit with sewage backup and not those that had water seep into basements or sump pumps fail.

"There's homes that had sump pumps that weren't able to keep up and those claims simply are not eligible for the relief program. You've had to experienced raw sewage in your basement," Hall said.

There are some homeowners that have bills exceeding $5,000 and they are now making a formal claim against the city's insurance policy to get paid back for that damage.

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