Homeowners express frustrations after SLC water main break

Jan 3, 2023, 10:47 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — Some homeowners were expressing frustrations Tuesday after experiencing flooding and other issues due to a water main break.

The break of the 20-inch line Monday near the intersection of 500 South and Navajo Street caused flooding and other damage at five homes in the area, city officials confirmed.

“I could see this big flood of water flooding the corner,” resident Lisa Moen said of Monday’s break. “And then you could see this ginormous sinkhole and that’s about it — just water flowing all around it.”

When Moen went downstairs, she found flooding inside her house.

“There was water all over my basement,” Moen said as she pointed around the room. “I could see things floating.”

Moen explained that she deployed a sump pump, but it didn’t have the desired effect.

“It was working, but it was pumping water into the sewer, and the sewer was pushing water into the house,” Moen said. “You could see the water bubbling up from the drain that comes from the sewer.”

Moen said the city had brought contractors to the area to help with the immediate cleanup, but that the help was less than she had hoped.

“The city is only going to allow them to clean and disinfect,” Moen said a contractor explained to her. “They’re not allowed to move anything or to rearrange anything or touch any of our property.”

The homeowner said that was an issue, given how many belongings she had stored in her basement.

“I don’t understand what we’re supposed to do when it wasn’t our fault,” she said.

Another homeowner, who declined to be interviewed, noted that her furnace was no longer working after flood waters entered the crawl space below her house.

In a statement, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities Director Laura Briefer said the department was “working as quickly as possible to help our residents with remediation of flooding impacts and in the repair of the City’s water lines, pursuant to our city policies.”

“We have been working closely with representatives of each of the impacted households in the Navajo Street area and expect to have much of the remediation work coordinated by Wednesday,” Briefer stated. “We know this is very disruptive, and we very much appreciate the collaboration we have with the residents who are impacted by the water main break.”

The line itself had already been repaired as of Tuesday evening, according to the officials.

Moen said the cleanup help offered should be more extensive.

“I just want it to be done right,” Moen said. “This is my home. This is the only place I’m ever going to live in my life. And if I go to bed at night thinking there’s still fecal matter floating around in my basement on things that I haven’t been able to get underneath or clean, that bothers me.”

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Homeowners express frustrations after SLC water main break