Cheverly Homeowners: Sewer Repair May Cause Basement Flooding

5:25 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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CHEVERLY, Md. (WUSA) -  Prince George's County Officials ON Friday investigated claims by a Cheverly couple that repairs to a sewer line in the 6100-block of Lombard Street have caused storm runoff to threaten flooding in their home.  No conclusions have been reached.

"We have a problem that everyone is willing to acknowledge but no one is willing to acknowledge ownership of it," said Larry Silverman, a lawyer representing Rebecca and Brett Snyder.

In April, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission spent $310-thousand dollars to replace 420-feet of sewer line in the neighborhood after the Snyders suffered a sewer line back up and flood in January of 2011.   The flood caused an outbreak of mold in the home that is still not resolved, the Snyders claim.

Now the Snyder's believe the WSSC repair has caused groundwater to migrate toward the house during storms, nearly overwhelming a sump pump in their home.

The WSSC says there has been no documented flood damage in the home since the repair, a fact the Snyders acknowledge. However, the couple fears flooding is inevitable because their sump pump has been running overtime.

The WSSC disputes the couple's claims.

"We have done everything the EPA has asked us to do," said I.J. Hudson, a spokesman for the WSSC.  Hudson noted the utility is under a court order to stop stormwater from intruding into sanitary sewers. "Its good for our customers and it's good for the environment," Hudson said.

What happens to stormwater after such a repair is not the utility's concern, according to John Shaw, a nationally recognized expert on wastewater utility issues.

"There is no obligation by the sanitary utility to convey storm water," Shaw said from his California office. "That's not their job. In fact, their obligation is to keep storm water out."

However, Shaw said it is not unusual for high groundwater to travel in a trench containing utilities such as a sewer line.

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