Sewage water causes damage to local homes

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- People came home from work Wednesday to find sewage water in their Kennewick basements. The city is still trying to figure out what caused the leak, while homeowners survey what they've lost.

Families near Creekstone found damage Wednesday night and it wasn't any better the morning after.

"I went downstairs, and there was water coming out of the toilet and out of a drain, and there was a lot of it," said resident James Brooks. "It was like fountains."

"It was bubbling out of the toilet, it was bubbling out of the shower, out of the sink drain, everything," said resident Dianna Winters.

"It was probably as deep as my knee is high, and I'm thinking, 'Oh crap, we're in big trouble,'" said resident Cheri Erickson.

Just weeks ago, Cheri and Ken Erickson paid thousands to redo their carpet in the basement - money now down the drain.

"It's unnerving; I didn't sleep well last night because my brain wouldn't shut off," said Cheri Erickson. "I don't wish this on anybody."

Kennewick is taking full responsibility. Staff say a reservoir valve was not calibrated correctly, causing drinking water to spill into the sewer system.

"Category 3 water, which means it comes out of the sewer, everything is going to have to be replaced that it touched," said Brooks.

Dianna Winters received most of the damage due to the way her basement sits. She and her husband work from home, but had to stay in a hotel Wednesday night due to the damage and smell. She estimates over $20,000 worth of material goods were damaged, but that's not what bothers her.

"My mother's and father's wedding album was contaminated," said Winters. "You can't replace those kinds of things."

Residents say they feel helpless. All they can do now is wait for the cleaners to fix the damage and file insurance claims to the city.

"I'm totally frustrated," Winters said. "My house stinks; my house doesn't feel like my house right now."

"Just things, we didn't lose anybody, but it's still devastating," said Cheri Erickson.

Kennewick's insurance would pay for the claims filed. The city says it's only been contacted by four people so far who reported damage.

Only homes with basements on Creekstone and Irving were affected.