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City of New Richmond to pay homeowners affected by sewage backup

According to New Richmond City Administrator/Utility Manager Mike Darrow, on Thanksgiving Day, residents on East Fourth Street were awakened by a significant sewage backup. In total, four homes within this neighborhood were impacted. The backup occurred in the early morning and members of New Richmond Utilities responded promptly.

In the following days, elected officials, the city administrator, public works staff and members of New Richmond Utility Commission visited with residents to assess the damage and discuss next steps.

Neither the homeowners' individual insurance policies, nor the city's umbrella policy, provided any coverage for the sewage backup. Damage occurred primarily in the basement areas of the homes with flooring, sheetrock and personal items being most impacted. However, the extent of the damages ranged by property owner.

The utility commission and city council worked cooperatively with the homeowners, Darrow said, to provide financial assistance and to determine the cause of this backup. Furthermore, the city has initiated a comprehensive review of similar systems, including the line running along East Fourth Street.

"After much consideration of not only those impacted by the backup, but all of our customers served by New Richmond Utilities, pending the processing of all required documentation, the city will be providing the affected homeowners with the total sum of $27,747.36, representing the loss sustained as a result of the sewage backup," Darrow said. "The City of New Richmond will also be updating its policies in the coming days to address future events of this nature and will continue to examine the ultimate cause of this particular backup."

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