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Couple wants city to for damage from backed up sewer main - KOAM TV 7

Carthage couple wants city to for damage from backed up sewer main

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In May, Nolan and Merrila Kowacich's of Carthage, Missouri came down stairs to find a sewage main had backed up through their pipes and into their home.  They say their home is the only one on the block to have a basement and all of the neighborhood sewage ended up on their property.

"My husband and I are both disabled, living on his disability income, which isn't a lot and trying to cope with this mess," says Merrila.

What used to be a basement playroom for their 25 grandchildren was suddenly covered in three-to-five inches of raw sewage, leaving Nolan to try to clean up the mess using his ShopVac.  But when that didn't work he called his insurance.

"The insurance company had a crew out here that does the clean up and disinfected what they could and threw away what they couldn't," says Nolan.

After paying $7,000 the Kowacich's say the insurance company stopped paying, claiming it was not the couple's pipes that was the problem, but the City of Carthage.

Despite the blame supposedly landing on Carthage the city kept their pocket book closed.

"We couldn't get anybody in the city to even talk to us about the problem, the city's insurance, they contacted them and they sent us a letter of denial, saying because it had never plugged up in that spot before they weren't responsible," says Merrila.

We contacted the City of Carthage city manager, who refused to comment and sent us to the city's water and electric insurance company.  After several calls, we received no answer and no comment on the matter.

"We don't know what to do anymore," says Merrila.  "We've tried attorneys, everybody doesn't want to get - lose business with the City of Carthage - so we can't get an attorney to work with us.  We're just stuck.  We're stuck with a huge bill that we can't pay."

The Kowacich's say they are at their wits end, and without knowing where to turn, are considering bringing the issue up at the next city council meeting.

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