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City inspections follow sewage spill

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jul 15, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A stretch of homes along Lafayette Avenue near Matilda Street NE in Grand Rapids flooded late Monday night into Tuesday. Several basements were left with six inches of water and a film of sewage.

“We lost a lot of personal stuff,” said Katie Medina of the damage in her basement. "A lot of stuff from our wedding that we can’t get back: a lot of our pictures, things we used for our wedding, things from our ceremony. Just a lot of sentimental value, and we are just not going to get any of that back."

On Medina’s porch sits boxes that are still soaked with mud, water, and sewage. The boxes held not only memorabilia from her wedding but clothes and toys they planned to give their two month old son.

Water and sewage came in through a drain in her basement and into several other houses on the 800 block of Lafayette Avenue.

Medina said she had no idea her basement was flooded until a neighbor alerted her of a potential problem.

“The smell that was coming out of the basement was just horrible. The stuff that was in the basement was just ruined because it was covered in mud and covered in sewage. It’s just that dirty water.”

Only a handful of homes were impacted, and on Wednesday most residents were still throwing out damaged items and power washing their basements to clean up.

They want to know who’s responsible for the mess and whether they will be compensated.

Several homeowners told FOX 17 News on Wednesday that they were worried about health risks. The homeowners also said they believe the problem is connected to construction going on outside their homes.

We asked the city of Grand Rapids if they knew what caused it. Officials said they are investigating and said that at this point only three homes were flooded and the flooding was minor, with only two to three inches of water.

Medina will tell you differently.

“There was a layer of sludge down here, and they were down here for about two hours today, power washing, scraping, and then bleached everything.”

Medina is mostly worried about health risks to her son and has no reassurance this kind of thing won’t happen again.

“I have a two-month-old, so the smell of sewage and the mud and just the musty smell from the stagnant water that had just been sitting there, I didn’t want him breathing that in.”

“Who’s responsible for it? I mean it was somebody’s wrongdoing. It was somebody’s fault. If it would have been taken care of like it should have, none of this would have happened.”

She said she’s been getting the runaround about how it happened and who is responsible for the flooding.

The city said they sent a city inspector hope to have more answers in two to three days.