Sewage bubbles up, then swamps family's home

Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 21:38:10-05

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - The cleanup continues tonight, after a bubbling scene turned into an unreal nightmare.

After a day of unrelenting rain earlier this month, Michael Ramirez got a call from his wife.

She told Ramirez, who was out of town at the time, that sewage was pouring out from underneath the toilet and the bathtub drain in their Spring Valley home.

Ramirez said county crews told them a sewer pipe was blocked.

Within a few hours, the sewage swamped the entire home, even flowing from the kitchen cabinets.          

County crews packed up all the family's belongings to be tested.

“This shows again that there is a serious problem with the county infrastructure that needs to be addressed,” said the family’s lawyer Evan Walker.                      

Ramirez said he had one big regret: he didn't have renter's insurance.

County spokesperson Alex Bell emailed the following statement to 10News: 

"The wastewater backup in Spring Valley was not a maintenance issue, but rather a result of an extreme rain event. During that rainstorm, large quantities of rain and stormwater entered into the sewer system. The overwhelming quantity of water exceeded the capacity of this particular system, which caused the backup and affected properties in the area.
County staff is now reviewing our wastewater system in this area for potential solutions to reduce stormwater infiltration. These systems are built to industry standards and are designed to allow some infiltration of rainwater, but during major storms any of these types of systems can become overwhelmed if the amount of water exceeds built capacity."
Bell said five homes in total had been affected and two properties have already been remediated. Repairs to the remaining properties are estimated to be completed in 4 - 6 weeks.
The cost of remediation totaled about $275,000. The county could not comment on the situation involving Ramirez's property.